‘Liberia Also Depends on You’

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The Ambassador for Maternal and Newborn Health, Madam Miata Fahnbulleh, has said the role of midwives in Liberia’s health delivery system is pivotal and that government and its partners depend on them to achieve the Millennium Development Goal # 4. MDG4’s focus is on child mortality and its reduction.
Midwives across the country have been barred from delivering pregnant mothers at home by government. They have been told to take expecting mothers to medical facilities for “safe delivery.” To this the Ambassador said midwives are meaningful contributors to the health sector.
Speaking at various venues during a tour in the Southeast , Madam Fahnbulleh said the country also depends on midwives, apart from the medical professional like the doctors, nurses others, to make sure that maternal and newborn death is reduced in Liberia, something she said required collective efforts.
Madam Fahnbulleh, who is popularly known by the Liberian populace as Aunty Miata, spoke to midwives from all the districts in Maryland County recently during a series of advocacy meetings. The meetings were held in Harper City, Karloken in Kaluwe district, Glofaken in Barrobo district and other areas. She admonished midwives to always encourage pregnant women in their various locales to seek medical attention at health facilities four times before delivery.
With a massive mortality reduction rate already recorded, Liberia is among the few countries worldwide that are on the verge of achieving MDG4 come the deadline date in 2015. In spite of this progress, Aunty Miata said “this should not cause complacency; we should still work hard to make sure that no woman dies giving birth because our mothers are precious to us. When a women dies the family is in disarray.”
Though their traditional roles have been limited, midwives are now serving as guides to pregnant women by ensuring that they go to health facilities to seek medication. They also serve as the initial point of contact for pregnant women in various rural communities before encountering nurses and doctors.
“We considered you very important to this process we have embarked on. You are the very first point of contact for pregnant women in the community. That is why we want you to insist they go to the clinic because you are unable to handle some of the complications they may come across. We really need your commitment to this process,” she explained.
She said pregnant women must always seek health facilities, whether they have had two, three or four children before, “you don’t know which pregnancy would create a problem for you. Please go to the clinic or hospital four times before delivery so you can be checked properly. We don’t want any more of our women to die.”
Some of the midwives, however, complained of a lack of logistics like transportation for those who live far away, and gloves and other necessities to help them carryout their functions efficiently.
They said that though government has taken away their livelihood— which they wholeheartedly agreed to give away— they should at least try to give them (midwives) compensation.
“Government says we should not deliver women behind the house because it is dangerous, we agree, but they should try to at least give us ‘small thing’ for taking care of pregnant women in the villages. This would make us happy to take care of our daughters, because we don’t have any other way to get money,” one of the midwives told Ambassador Fahnbulleh.

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