Dignity Liberia, a non-governmental organization (NGO), that seeks to bring restoration and hope to women with fistula prevention, broke ground for the construction of a modern Maternity Waiting Home (MWH) in Kleemu Town, Todee District, Montserrado County.
Upon full completion of the project, Dignity Liberia said, it will be called the House of Hope and Dignity and will allow pregnant women to access quality maternal and newborn care by bringing them closer to health facilities thus avoiding complications during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
In Liberia, skilled attendance at birth remains low, leading to higher rates of maternal death an injury such as obstetric fistula. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in pregnant women without access to emergency obstetric care or a health facility in which to give birth.
Kathi Gutierrez, the founder of Dignity Liberia, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, February 15, 2021, stressed the importance to keep pregnant women and young mothers safe at all times, when in such condition. The ceremony was also graced by Mrs. Becky Huner, RN, Board of Dignity Liberia and a representative from the Ministry of Health Family Health Division, Mrs. Sametta George, respectively.
Mrs. Gutierrez observed that a number of fistula survivors and many of them also gave birth in unhygienic settings. Others, after being in labor for 4, 5, even 6 days, tried to make the difficult journey to a clinic to give birth.
She added, “We selected the land for our Maternity Waiting Home, House of Hope and Dignity, and signed paperwork toward its purchase.”
Mrs. Gutierrez told the Todee residents that she was very grateful to see her dream come to past finally because this is something “we taught of doing for the women of this country.
“Our prayer is that this home will help prevent Fistula by providing safe deliveries. But because our mission is helping women with Obstetric Fistula we will have an OR for ongoing fistula repair surgeries and training,” she said.
Mrs. Gutierrez continued: “I have no doubt that we will still continue to lean on our friends for wisdom and leadership. And together we will bring hope to the forgotten women in Liberia.”
For his part, the political leader of the All-Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, said he was very happy and honoured to be part of and support such important and critical foundation of the Liberian health system.
“We will work with you to ensure that a quality service is delivered at the facility. It serves me no surprise to see you bringing dignity to our brothers and sisters in Liberia and these kinds of gestures must never go unnoticed in our society by the government and the people of Liberia,” he told Dignity Liberia, founder and team.
Mr. Urey reminded the residents of the many sacrifices Dignity Liberia is making to come and mitigate some of the problems that the country is facing.
He admonished them to learn how to show appreciation and concern as well as help Dignity Liberia in whatever way they can by giving them the security to ensure that their dream can become a reality.
The Head of the Fistula project in the country, Dr. John K. Mulbah, said the program (fistula) that will be offered here will remain indelible and unforgettable by the government and people of Liberia.
He said, “We need to work together. Hope Dignity, why are we talking about this program, the women that can go to give birth, when you are told that she gives birth and the baby didn’t live or they tell you that the woman has given birth but she can no longer sit among people because of fistula?” And because of this, some of these women are being rejected by their families, the husband leaves them just because of this problem.”
Dr. Mulbah noted that the issue of fistula is very serious around the world and Liberia is no exception.
Dignity Liberia, which is located at Family Medical Center in Jacob Town, outside Monrovia, is headed by Reverend Emie Sam-Peal and Matthew Walters, the office manager.