Woman Dies in Childbirth in Gbarpolu

  • As residents call for intervention  

By. G. Bennie Bravo Johnson

Amidst accusation of stealing funding intended to construct health facility in remote a district in Gbarpolu County, a 20-year-old woman has died in childbirth while being carried in a hammock to a neighboring town for medical attention.

Bendu Steven died on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, following the deaths of two district elders who died in the previous days due to a lack of medical facilities in the district.

Speaking to residents of the district on Friday, January 13, 2023, district youth secretary Mamadee Camara lamented the deceased Bendu Stephen’s death because the district lacks a medical center to advise patients, mostly pregnant women, about their medical conditions and ensure that they seek advanced medical treatment outside the district. Something he said is increasing the risk of death during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

“Like Bendu, she was in pain for more than two days.” “She couldn’t give birth on her own, so we decided to carry her to Foboe, Sierra Leone’s nearest town, with the hammock, and when we arrived, we lost her.” Camara bemoaned.

He went on to say that Bendu would not have died if she had received medical attention in the district.

“It is clear that if we had a clinic in our district and knew she couldn’t give birth on her own, the clinic could have advised her to leave the district in time to seek medical attention in Sierra Leone, either in Borpolu, Tubmanburg, or Foboe.”

Camara went on to say that the possibility of dying from minor illnesses is increasing by the day due to the district’s poor health conditions. Counting the lack of access to safe hand pump water and road connectivity leading to the district as major contributors to the district’s poor health.

Kongba District is located in Gbarpolu County and is home to four clans: the Torklay, Mbarma, Zuie, and Normon. The district borders Sierra Leone and is linked to Lofa county, which has a large number of disadvantaged girls, women, and children.

Life in Kongba district is difficult because the entire district is dependent on a single incapacitated community clinic in Kungbor town, the Torklay clan’s home.

People in the district must walk for ten to fifteen hours to reach the district’s only community clinic. something that has caused pregnant women to die during childbirth and put children’s lives in danger during curable diseases like malaria, typhoid, and so on.

In an effort to address the challenges of access to medical facilities, the previous government began construction of a clinic in the district in 2017.

This effort was bolstered by President George Weah, who provided 50,000 USD during his county tour to help complete the clinic and ensure that the people of the district have access to health care delivery.

It rumored that the president’s gesture came in response to a request from the district’s representative, the honorable Joseph Momo Mathews, for the completion of the project, and the president made available $50,000, which was received by the representative and transferred to the county health team account, which will be managed by the superintendent and the county’s CHO.

However, this effort was futile because those in charge of the 50K US allegedly mismanaged the funds intended to create an enabling environment for health care delivery.

This paper’s reporter concluded that the people of Kongba district face not only access to safe health care delivery as a major challenge, as they must travel approximately eight hours to neighboring Sierra Leone for medical attention, but also access to basic education.

It has been established that the entire district had only one junior high school.

The district’s poor education system is concerning, as children lack access to instructional materials that would allow them to receive lessons.

Furthermore, the school’s condition is so bad that students are compelled to pay teachers through help them with farming activities in order to survive, as teachers have yet to be hired by the government.

Meanwhile, the people of Kongba District are pleading with the government, international partners, and stakeholders to assist them. The district’s residents, primarily women and children, are in desperate need of access to health care and basic education.

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