-Dr. Fannieh, Grand Kru County Health Officer

Dr. Fannieh addresses the graduates

The 11th commencement exercise of the Midwifery Training Program (MTP) in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County was held over the weekend with a call for increased budgetary support to enable the school to train more midwives.

The event was held on Saturday, May 20, on the MTP campus where 43 students graduated and were awarded diplomas after completing three years of studies.

Dr. Augustine Fannieh, Grand Kru County Health Officer, who addressed the gathering of well-wishers and health stakeholders, emphasized that providing adequate support to the only midwifery training program in the southeast will enable midwives to respond fully to the healthcare needs of pregnant women and children.

Dr. Fannieh appealed to the legislative caucuses of southeastern counties to advocate for an increased allotment for the school during the pending national fiscal budget debate.

“Since the establishment of this school in the southeast, it has brought relief to women and children,” he declared, adding, “It is because of the presence of the midwifery training program in the southeastern region…we are not hearing too much of pregnant women and children dying.”

The southeast region, according to Dr. Fannieh, is getting better with the training of more midwives due to the presence of the midwifery training institution.

He cited the Grand Kru health system as an example of his topic, “Midwives, the Frontline Soldiers to Safe Motherhood.” The Grand Kru system comprises 19 healthcare facilities with all 19 midwives working in these facilities graduating from the Zwedru MTP.

Fannieh later made a cash donation of L$50,000 on behalf of his county.

He said the health sector remains challenging for both the county authorities and the county health teams of the seven southeastern counties that are benefiting from the program, adding that the challenge extends to the counties making quarterly financial contributions for the upkeep of their students attending the school.

Counties making up the southeastern region that are benefiting from the midwifery training program are Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Maryland, River Gee, Grand Kru and Rivercess.

In a related development, the former midwifery training program in the southeastern region has been rededicated under a new name: “Deanna Kay Isaacson School of Midwifery (DKISM).”

Netus Newine, Grand Gedeh County Community Health Department Director, made the pronouncement during MTP graduation program.

The school is renamed after the former director of the MTP, Deanna Kay Isaacson, who, according to Mr. Newine, dedicated her service to mankind.

The late Deanna Kay Isaacson served as a missionary to the Lutheran Church in Liberia from 1966-2000. She was seconded from Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to start up the school, and served there as the program developer, working with the MoH and its partners to establish and manage the school.

Lutheran Church of Liberia Bishop emeritus Smallwood Harris, who performed the dedicatory ceremony, praised authorities at the MoH and administration of the school for honoring Deanna. He described such honor as a good example of private-public partnership, adding, “You have not only honored Deanna, but the Lutheran Church of Liberia, and by extension Jesus Christ’s healing ministry, which she was furthering.”

This honor is more than diamond and gold, Bishop Harris concluded.

DKISM is one of the six Pre-Service Training Institutions being supported by the Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP), a global effort to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes funded by USAID, working with the Liberian government and its partners to strengthen health services.

The MCSP/Human Resources for Health (MCSP/HRH) is working in Liberia specifically to improve health workforce readiness with a focus on reinforcing entry-level registered midwives (RMs) and medical laboratory technicians’ (MLTs) Pre-Service Education. As part of the program objective, it is working to increase the quality of instruction and strengthening of the learning environment at targeted Pre-Service Education Institutions.

The valedictorian of the graduating class reminded his fellow graduates to “treat every patient with respect and dignity.” Using as his theme, “Good Customer Service,” graduate Isaac M. Noubo observed that midwives as health service providers should help their patients/customers make better decisions.

Noubo added: “We are servants of our patients, who are our bosses.”

Several personalities who attended the occasion and made separate remarks included Mrs. Marion Subah, Chief of Party of the MCSPHRH Project.

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