As a means of ending maternal mortality across Liberia, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with Plan International-Liberia with support from EU/UN Spotlight Initiative, has turned over a 28-bed facility to the Government of Liberia to be used as a maternal waiting home in Bahn, Nimba County.
The 28-bed facility that was turned over on Friday, September 10, 2021 will provide women in the final stages of pregnancy and who are residing in distanced communities with accommodation where they will ultimately give birth under the care of skilled birth attendants.
In addition to providing accommodation, the maternal waiting home has a delivery room, labor ward, postpartum ward, and nursing station attached for enhanced service delivery. Mr. Ibrahim M. Sesay, UNFA Officer-In-Charge, said making motherhood safer is a human rights imperative and is at the core of UNFPA’s mandate.
“Working for the survival of mothers is a human rights imperative, and it is a development priority. The International Conference on Population and Development and the Millennium Development Goals called for achieving a 75 percent reduction in maternal mortality between 1990 and 2015. This remains an unfinished agenda. The new Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, call for bringing the maternal mortality ratio down to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030,” Mr. Sesay said.
Mr. Sesay said, “While Liberia has made some gains in making motherhood safer, leading to a reduction in maternal deaths from 1072 per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 742 deaths per live births in 2020, achieving the global target remains a monumental task.”
He said the best way to achieve the ambitious target is to ensure that all women have access to contraception to avoid unintended pregnancies; provide all pregnant women with skilled and respectful care in a safe environment during delivery and make sure women with complications have timely access to quality emergency obstetric care.
Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, shortly after receiving the facilities, lauded the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative for its support toward increased women's and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and reduction in the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices in Liberia.
“The Government of Liberia is committed to the reduction of maternal mortality as part of its Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. We want to ensure that no woman dies when she goes to have a child,” Dr. Jallah said.
She called on community members to ensure the proper use of the facility as a means of putting an end to maternal deaths. The Spotlight Initiative is an EU – UN global partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, launched June 18, 2019, by the Government of Liberia, European Union, Civil Society Organizations and the United Nations in Liberia.
The Spotlight Initiative aims, through priority interventions, to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health and rights, and harmful practices against women and girls by addressing structural causes across six key pillars of legislative and policy framework; institutional strengthening; changing norms and behaviors; delivery of essential services; management of data and strengthening women’s movements and civil society organizations.