With funding from the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mercy Corps Liberia has commissioned and turned over a modern Safe Antenatal Clinic to the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Health.
The clinic, formally dedicated on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, is being constructed by Mercy Corps under its “Strengthening Maternal and Infant Healthcare in Liberia (SAFE)” program.
The clinic, currently situated on the premises of the James Davis Junior (JDJ) Memorial Hospital in Neezoe, Paynesville, will provide antenatal care, delivery, emergency obstetric care, and postnatal care services to hundreds of women and children in Monrovia and its environs.
Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of Health, at the dedication thanked the UAE Government on behalf of the government and people of Liberia for what she described as a “Milestone gesture.”
She said that the maternal home constructed by Mercy Corps with funding from the UAE Government will contribute to the government’s efforts in creating a reliable and efficient health sector that is capable of providing quality healthcare all.
This gesture, Minister Jallah said, is the fruit of the longstanding partnership that has existed between the Health Ministry and the UAE government through Mercy Corps.
“So, we want to thank the Country Director of Mercy Corps Liberia for taking up the challenge to be able to do this work, especially working in collaboration with our team at the Ministry of Health to ensure that the project is completed,” she said.
Minister Jallah further called on the hospital’s management to take good care of the facilities to ensure that effective delivery of healthcare to the women and children is done.
Mercy Corps Country Director, Christopher Mzembe, said the facility is critical to addressing the health needs of women and children.
Mr. Mzembe said at Mercy Corps, they are very deeply concerned about making and creating possibilities for everyone, particularly women and children.
He called on the JDJ administrators to take complete ownership of the facility, which he said is key to the partnership that the UAE Government spoke about from the onset of the project.
According to him, the partners want to ensure that the people benefit from the equipment at the facility, thereby creating awareness about the services available for baby-mothers.
He also observed that most men always believed that childbearing is only a woman’s job, adding, “But I want to encourage all the men today to get involved and take care of their pregnant women and young children as well.”
Ms. Delou Gonsan-Zeo, SAFE Program Manager, giving the overview of the ceremony said she was very excited to witness the commissioning of the project, which according to her will cater to many women and children.
She added that the aim of the SAFE program is to strengthen maternal and infant healthcare, but “We have also been working in Grand Bassa County, particularly in seven of the eight health districts in the county.”
Montserrado County, she said, accidentally became one of Mercy Corps’pilot projects through the minister’s office.
Ms. Gonsan-Zeo said the UAE government through Mercy Corps has always supported humanitarian aid but has never done development.
She added, “So, they started working with Mercy Corps because based on the health indicators they received from Liberia, their entire hope and aspiration for Liberia is to strengthen maternal and child care. They notice that a lot of women are dying, including children under five, one within the first thirty days and 24 hours at birth; and they saw the need to come and partner with Mercy Corps with implementation support from the Ministry of Health—to support the national efforts to cure our maternal and child’s mobility and mortality.”
She said as part of her work, Mercy Corps has been doing renovation across Grand Bassa County and today “we have done this construction work here.”
“I am happy that the Minister of Health is here today and I would like her to know that, regionally, we wanted to reach out to 15,000 women and children, but our program record shows that we have reached out to 18,000 beneficiaries, which surpasses our target by 120 percent for a program that is within its first year,” she told Minister Jallah.
Dr. Anthony S. Quayee, Sr., JDJ Memorial Hospital Director, expressed gratitude to the UAE Government for funding the initiative through Mercy Corps.
He used the occasion to challenge his medical staff to work very hard for the Liberian people.
Dr. Quayee told partners that the facility dedicated will be used by the women and children of Liberia. “We are here to give quality health services to our mothers and children. So that should be our objective at this center.”
Meanwhile, the occasion was attended by high-ranking health officials, including Deputy Minister/Chief Medical Officer of Liberia Dr. Francis Kateh, JDJ staff and Mercy Corps staff, among others.