Sen. Tengbeh describes Midwives at Int’l Day
Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh has described Liberian midwives as heroines on the frontline to save humanity and has said their effort has won his personal admiration.
Sen. Tengbeh said midwives are fearless and usually the first people on the frontline, providing care to prevent deaths at childbirths, and wonders what would have happened to mankind if there were no midwives.
He spoke at a program marking this year’s International Day of Midwives, which was officially observed in Voinjama, Lofa County, on Saturday, May 5. The event brought together several medical practitioners, especially those supporting the midwifery program and the Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP) in the country.
Tengbeh noted that midwives are precious jewels, who should be recognized by everyone and appreciated for their valuable contributions to society.
The Lofa County Senator referenced traditional birth attendants, who are working day and night to help prevent maternal deaths in rural communities.
Sen. Tengbeh promised to advocate for increment in allotment for midwives during the 2018 national budget debate.
He assured midwives that although the budget prioritizes health, education and security, he will speak for midwives to get adequate salaries and other benefits.
The senator frowned on the lack of insurance for healthcare providers, including midwives, and emphasized that he would give it his utmost attention, “because they are making sacrifices despite the low incentives they receive.
“We will speak for you when Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah comes to the legislature to defend allotments to the ministry in the national budget,” Tengbeh assured.
The Midwifery Day
The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in the late 1980s set aside May 5 as “International Day of the Midwife,” which recognizes and highlights the work of midwives around the World. The day was officially launched in 1992.
The 2018 celebration was held under the auspices of Liberia Midwives Association, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and USAID (United Sates Aid for International Development) under the theme, “Midwives Leading the Way with Quality Care.”
Jhpiego, an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, is implementing USAID’s MCSP, which seeks to prevent child and maternal deaths.
The three-day celebration attracted midwives, students of midwives training institutes and traditional birth attendants (TBA), who paraded the principal streets of Voinjama on Saturday, May 5.
Prior to the parade and indoor program, a scientific session was held on Friday, May 4, to update knowledge and skills in maintaining competence and proficiency in delivering quality care to mothers, their new born and family.
A team from Jhpiego, headed by senior Specialists Comfort T. Gebeh and Nancy T. Moses presented an anti-shock garment, a new method introduced to prevent women from dying in childbirth.
Anti-shock garment is a low-technology first-aid device used to treat (hypovolemic) shock, effective for reducing maternal deaths due to obstetrical hemorrhage (bleeding) of a woman during or shortly after a pregnancy.
The anti shock garment session was interactive; presenters entertained questions from midwives following the screening of a heart-warming video on the procedure.
The scientific session also witnessed experience sharing on post partum hemorrhage management, post partum family planning, managing severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia using Mgso4 as well as helping baby breath.
Lucy W. C. Barh, a long-serving midwife and former president of the Liberia Midwives Association, was certificated and gowned for her contributions to the growth and development of the association and midwifery in the country.
MCSP/Human Resources for Health, Chief of Party (COP) Marion Subah, who led the Lofa activities, lauded Madam Barh for improving midwifery in the country.
Madam Subah then presented a certificate and robe to a proxy for Mrs. Barh, who was not in attendance at the program.
Five other midwives were also honored and certificated for their “tireless contributions to the profession.”
A representative from UNFPA, Dr. Rosette Namulindwa, promised UNFPA’s continued support to midwifery in Liberia, including support to the three mandates of the UN agency that relate to midwives.
She praised Liberian midwives for “exceptional performances” they earlier acquired from their colleagues in other countries where she has worked.
Dr. Namulindwa lauded training schools for molding midwives who are performing exceedingly well at their areas of assignment.
Liberia Midwives Association President Wilhelmina W. G. Flomo lauded partners for sponsoring the program and thanked her colleagues and the TBAs for gracing the Lofa event.
Madam Flomo challenged midwives to always remain professional, in spite of the lack of insurance and low salaries they continue to receive.
She reminded her colleagues that, “this is the profession we choose anyway.”
Madam Flomo therefore called on policymakers to ensure that midwives are adequately compensated for, which she said is crucial to the medical profession.
The three-day event was climaxed with sporting activities and a thanks-giving service held at Liberty Church in Voinjama on Sunday, May 6.