By Antoinette Sendolo
Amidst the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in Liberia, the National Budget and Human Rights Forum in collaboration with Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia has officially launched its Maternal Health Budget Advocacy project in the country.
The Maternal Health Budget Advocacy initiated by the National Budget and Human Rights Forum in partnership with Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia is geared towards reducing the rate of infant and maternal mortality and to see that Liberia achieves the 2015 goals of the international treaty on infant and maternal mortality signed by the government.
“In order to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality in the country, it is indeed important to have a special budget allocation to have the necessary materials at the various health center to accommodate pregnant women especially those in rural Liberia who have to walk distances to get to a health center,” Mr Prince Kreplah, Executive Director of Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia said.
According to the treaty on infant and maternal mortality which Liberia is signatory to, countries should strive to reduce the rate of infant mortality below 35 per 1,000 live births and an under -5 mortality rate below 45 per 1,000.
The treaty also requires government to protect and promote the rights of adolescents to reproductive health education, information and care, and greatly reduce the number of adolescent pregnancies and governments are urged, in collaboration with NGOs to establish appropriate mechanisms to respond to the special needs of adolescents in order to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality.
Speaking at the launch of the Maternal Health Budget Advocacy, the director of Family Health at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Cuallaujebbeh Howe who officially launched the advocacy noted that the issue of infant and maternal mortality remains a major challenge therefore more need to be done to ensure that Liberia achieves its goals come 2015.
She blamed the high rate of infant and maternal mortality on the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies across the country asserting that most teenagers have unsaved abortion which is one of the major causes of infant and maternal mortality.
Dr. Howe added that there is a need for the process to be decentralized in order to ensure that people in rural parts of Liberia can be a part of the advocacy.