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

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