About 200 delegates from the six health districts in Nimba County yesterday converged in Sanniquellie to participate in a county-level maternal and newborn health conference under the theme, “No to Maternal and Newborn Deaths” and the slogan, “Mama and Baby Must Live!”
The two-day conference ending today is jointly convened by the Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Nimba County Health Team and its partners with support from Africare and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) Restoration of Health Services project that is implemented by Jhpiego and John Snow Incorporated, a release has said.
Major stakeholders of the county’s healthcare delivery system, including government officials and traditional leaders, community representatives and the media are in attendance. The health sector led by the central MoH is fully represented by a broad array of district health teams, reproductive health supervisors, maternal and child health staff from over 70 health facilities that include four major hospitals, trained traditional midwives, ambulance drivers and other health partners.
The purpose of the gathering is to bring a wide range of stakeholders, including the community representatives to “celebrate gains made in the fight against maternal and newborn deaths and morbidity; raise awareness, advocate for better maternal and neonatal health as well as determine solutions and strategies to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in the county.”
It is also anticipated that participating stakeholders and diverse actors will discuss general maternal and newborn health issues specific to the county and come up with multi-sector resolution comprising strategies and concrete action to address all issues aimed at improving maternal and newborn health services.
According to the Liberia Demography Health Survey (LDHS), the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) increased from 994 to 1072 per 100,000 live births from 2007 to 2013, while the neonatal mortality rate reduced from 32 to 26 per 1000 live births during the same period.
Since then, MoH authorities and partners have made efforts at various levels to address this alarming rate of maternal and newborn deaths by improving health coverage in antenatal care (ANC), skilled birth attendants (SBA), essential newborn care and post natal care (PNC).
However, the release said sustaining and consolidating gains made and improving on the provision of better services remains a major challenge to the national health planners and actors.
The MCSP is USAID’s cooperative agreement with a mandate to introduce and support high-impact health interventions in 26 priority countries with the ultimate goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths.