– WHO helps nation to build resilient health system following deadly Ebola virus disease
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured international health stakeholders, including the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Liberian government will work with partners to build a resilient health system.
She made the assurance recently when she cut the ribbon to formally open one of the six WHO constructed maternal waiting homes under the H6 partnership which includes UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, UNAIDS and World Bank. The President was recently on a tour of the southeast.
President Sirleaf expressed delight with the quality of the WHO built facility, with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) as part of the H6 partners’ support to Liberia’s efforts to strengthen maternal health and build its resilient health sector.
Maternal waiting homes are temporary shelters built close to health facilities to provide expectant mothers nearing their delivery dates with more frequent check-ups and safe deliveries by avoiding the risks of going into labor in remote areas far away from a medical facility.
Liberia currently has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, at 1,072 per 100,000 live births, according to the Liberia Demography and Health Survey of 2013.
The President expressed gratitude to SIDA through the six specialized UN agencies and all her officials and Members of the Legislature on Health Committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate for the effective collaboration in working towards building a resilient health sector, and for helping to save the lives of mothers and children.
Deputy Minister for Health Services at the Ministry of Health Dr. Francis Kateh informed the President that the H6 partners have constructed six maternal homes in the country.
Other counties being supported by the H6 partner project are Maryland, River Gee, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount and River Cess.
Dr. Kateh, who is also the nation’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), told the President that the Health Ministry and the H6 partners were finalizing national guidelines to ensure effective community engagement and utilization of the maternity homes.
Also making remarks, Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO Representative to Liberia, disclosed that every effort is being made to improve maternal health indicators in Liberia.
The WHO representative thanked the President for her good leadership and commitment to improving the nation’s health sector and the National Investment Health Plan.
He also gave WHO’s commitment to further support the health initiatives of the Liberian government.
Some of the interventions being made to support the nation’s health sector include the provision of essential medical equipment, adolescent friendly health services, the establishment of maternal waiting homes to improve access to skilled delivery, strengthening the referral system, capacity building for quality service delivery, among others.