Liberia ranks the 7th globally, 3rd in Africa for maternal and newborn mortality
Liberia’s deaths rate of newborn babies is among the highest in the world, because it has increased from 997/100,000 (997 deaths per 100,000 lives) to 1072/100,000 (1072 deaths per 100,000 lives). However, in order to curb the death of new born babies, a local civil society organization, the Partnership for Sustainable Development (PaSD) has delivered a newborn mortality reduction strategy to the House of Representatives.
Liberia is the 7th in the world of maternity and newborn death and 3rd in Africa, meaning, the maternal death rate has continued to increase since the year 2000.
The acting national executive director of PaSD, David P. Flomo, challenged the House of Representatives on Friday, June 21, 2019 to create budget lines for reproductive maternal newborn child and adolescent health (RMNCH).
Members of the Lower House, who met with PaSD in the Conference Room of Speaker Bhofal Chambers, were House Committee chairman on Health, Rep. Joseph Somwarbi, Rep. Julie Wiah, chairperson on Gender, Equity, Child Development and Social Services and member of the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning; Rep. Rosana Schaack, chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus and member of the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning as well as Rep. Byron Zahnwea, member of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Committee.
Mr. Flomo told the lawmakers to increase the national budget of health to 15% and create budget lines to accelerate and reduce maternal mortality, promote sexual, reproductive and child health.
“Mortality rate of children under five years of age per 1,000 live births in Liberia is 94; and the total fertility rate of births per woman stood at 4.5 in 2018; and also 26% of adolescent pregnancies are unintended and 30 percent end in unsafe abortion,” Mr. Flomo said.
He added: “Infant mortality rate, per 1,000 live births is 54; teenage pregnancy rate is among the highest in the sub-region, high at 31%, this means 3 in 10 and the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel is 61.”
Separately, Reps. Somwarbi, Wiah, Schaack and Zahnwea thanked the PaSD for the advocacy but urged the committee to present to them a holistic document to reduce maternal mortality and promote sexual, reproductive and child health.
The County Health Coordinator for Save the Children, M. Jacob F. Tengbeh, told the lawmakers that creating the budget lines would help the government to improve the maternal and new born rate.
He called on the government to provide access to skilled birth attendants, and delivery in facilities equipped for emergency obstetric and stressed that newborn care are core requirements for pregnant women. Save the Children is the main sponsor of PaSD.
This is the fifth initiative of the PaSD ahead of the 2019/2020 Budget submission on the advocacy of increasing the health budget and creating budget lines.
The PaSD petitioned Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), challenging the government to create clear budget lines reproductive maternal newborn child and adolescent health (RMNCH).