Health Confab Abolishes ‘Home Delivery’

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Some of the TTMs posed with other participants at the end of the ceremony

Adopts 22-count resolution

Stakeholders at the end of the recently held two-day Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Lofa County have pledged to collectively intensify their efforts to address major causes of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality as well as improve the health and well-being of the citizens.

Conference participants agreed in their declaration to abolish ‘home delivery’ across the country, beginning in Lofa County.

The over 150 participants’ re-commitment was contained in a 22-count resolution adopted at the end of the conference held in Voinjama City from January 19-20.

In their 22-count resolution, participants agreed to levy specific fines and penalties for all violators engaging in home delivery, to include  L$2,500 for TTMs or TBAs, who fail to take pregnant women to the facility for delivery; L$2,500 for a pregnant woman who refuses to go to the facility for delivery.

The resolutions also prescribed tough punishment of a ban from the practice and a court sentence for the death of a pregnant woman at the hands of a TTM or TBA, who carries out delivery in the community after more than one offense.

The participants reminded all stakeholders, especially the county administration, county health teams (CHTs) and community leaders to ensure full implementation of the resolutions.

The conference was held under the theme: “No to Maternal and Newborn Deaths” with the slogan, “Mama and Baby Must Live.”

Lofa County administration, meanwhile promised to demonstrate their support in leadership and resource mobilization; ensure coordination and collaboration among education, gender and other sectors, including the line ministries; ensure the enforcement of fines and penalties for violators as agreed upon at the conference to abolish ‘home delivery.’

The county healthcare givers and partners also recommitted themselves to providing quality healthcare services to mothers, newborn infants and the society at all facilities.

They promised to introduce a motivational scheme for traditional trained midwives (TTMs) in kind or cash for demonstrating best practices of referring the highest number of pregnant women to the health facility every quarter of the year.

At the community level, conference participants recognized the roles of religious and traditional leaders as well as the TTMs, and challenged them to utilize their networks by serving as advocates to encourage pregnant women to attend antenatal care (ANC), deliver at a health facility, and return for postnatal care to enhance the uptake of maternal and newborn health services.

Specifically, the resolution mandates that TTMs or the traditional birth attendants (TBAs) be compensated by the husband or family of a pregnant woman in the amount of L$1,500 for caring and accompanying patient at the ANC and in labor to the health facility.

It also encourages all commissioners and local authorities to ensure that community members participate in transporting pregnant women to facilities for delivery and in cases of emergency, use hammocks where an ambulance was not available. A fine of L$2,000 will be imposed on any male community member who refuses, while any family member who refuses to side brush roads and assist with minor repair of bridges in their areas will be fined L$3,000.

Participants cautioned that refusal of any district superintendent, commissioner or local authority to adhere to these resolutions, such complaint should be brought to the attention of the county superintendent.

The resolution will be disseminated in the local languages on radio stations.

The CHT has been tasked to review progress of the resolution on a yearly basis, to evaluate the status and strengthen their commitment.   The conference was jointly organized by authorities at the Ministry of Health, Lofa CHT and health partners with support from the International Rescue Committee(IRC), PACs, JSI and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It was funded by the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) Restoration of Health Services project implemented by Jhpiego and John Snow Incorporated.

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