The age-old constraints that pregnant women especially in rural Liberia go through relative to maternal health will soon be history in Margibi County, through the collective efforts of the Margibi County Health Team (CHT) and a local organization, the Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI).
On Wednesday April 21 , 2021 the Margibi County Health Team and Community Healthcare Initiative conducted a day-long intensive maternal health stakeholders conference in Kakata City, Margibi County , with the objective of remedying the issue of maternal health in that part of the country.
The day-long maternal health stakeholders assembly brought together local authorities within the five electoral and statutory districts of Margibi, include commissioners , chiefs, security personnel, trained traditional midwives (TTM) as well as representatives other organizations, including Plan International Liberia, United States Agency International Development Strategic Technical Assistant for Improved Health System among others , to formulate plans aimed at addressing challenges impeding the collective efforts being made to prevent pregnant women from dying either during childbirth or before delivery.
The conference was also intended to mitigate between health workers or facilities and the local communities regarding family members or a pregnant woman refusing to go to the health facilities in time for delivery or medication . It also focused on the formation of a new framework document to address maternal health issues in Margibi.
During the conference, Community Healthcare Initiative Executive Director, Noam Tulay-Sonyanke said her organization is in partnership with Margibi, Grand Bassa and Montserrado Counties Health Teams under the project Strengthening Health system .
“We were in constant communication with Dr. Pagibo , the County Health Officer of Margibi about our project and he told us that we know what you can do, but I think it will be really appropriate to call the other stakeholders , the community leaders , doctors because we have a plan so you can give us that support and when we achieve it will be fine,“ Madam Tulay-Sonyanke said.
The CHI boss further narrated that it was based on the partnership that led to the success of the stakeholders conference aimed at finding amicable solution to the maternal health problem in Margibi County.
She told the gathering that it was her conviction that the conference will lead to reducing the maternal mortality rate in Margibi.
She further indicated that with the collective efforts of all stakeholders, the reduction of maternal mortality rate will is achievable.
She encouraged community residents to develop a contribution system in getting a waiting home for pregnant women within an environment with a health facility, including feeding, emphasizing that they are all interrelated.
According to her , with the securing of the home by the community dwellers through their community leadership, they can then inform relevant government authorities that the home will be used to accommodate pregnant women and that they as a community will be responsible to provide feeding.
She told her audience that government cannot do all, noting that it is vital for community residents to help themselves by buttressing government’s efforts to save mothers and their unborn children.
Also speaking at the occasiont was Plan International Liberia Malaria Program Coordinator, Patricia Diggs, who said her organization is also partnering with the Margibi County Health Team to implement the national community health program, stressing that the focus of the program is to reduce maternal mortality death rate at the community level.
She pointed out that Plan international is working with community health assistance and Trained Traditional Midwife (TTM) which according to her, the TTM encourages pregnant women to go to the health facilities for treatment.
Madam Diggs said all of such programs are intended to improve maternal and child health, expressing appreciation to CHI for such an initiative.
She wants action taken against violators of laws put in place to reduce and prevent maternal mortality deaths at the community level.
For her part, Margibi County Malaria Advisor at the United States Agency of International Development Strategic Technical Assistant for Improve Health System, Lawrentine Momoh described maternal health as a critical national issue, indicating that Margibi is the second highest to the first, Montserrado County in maternal deaths.
She expressed gratitude to Margibi County Health Team and her partner CHI for the initiative, noting that the outcome of the conference will put into place a system that will assist in the efforts of the County Health Team to stop maternal deaths.
Margibi County Health Officer Myers Pagibo, for his part, reflecting on some efforts made by the County Health Team indicated that in 2016, the team conducted similar stakeholder’s conference for three days on maternal health.
He said the meeting at the time focused on women giving birth within the community and not at the medical facility, stressing that sometimes pregnant women die in the process of giving birth to a child within the community.
According to him, the three days conference at the time on maternal health formulated a comprehensive framework document that was agreed upon, that any individual carrying out maternity work on any pregnant woman within the community and not in the hospital, would be fined.
Dr. Pagibo disclosed that the framework document was signed by Margibi Superintendent, the County Health Officer at that time highlighting that the problem is continuing.
Giving some statistics following the signing of the first framework document on maternal health in Margibi County, Dr. Pagibo said in 2018, 11 pregnant women die in childbirth .He further indicated that in 2019, 19 pregnant women die. He said the number of pregnant women death drop in 2020 to 15.
According to him the County Health Team and its partners are working to ensure that maternal mortality rate is reduce through a formulation of a new firm work document highlighting the problem and finding a solution with participants from the five electoral district of the county .
Also speaking during the meeting was the Medical Director at C.H. Rennie Hospital Dr. Yorvoh Moore Wilson, who expressed serious frustration over the attitude of some pregnant women, who he said are in the habit of refusing to seek medication or delivery at the hospital for reasons best known to them.
According to her, with the challenges the hospital is faced with in fueling ambulance to get patients in emergency situations to the health facility, some pregnant women refuse usually to be taken to the hospital, resulting sometimes to death.
Washington Watson writes