Saving lives during childbirth in rural Liberia

uni1463109183{UNICEF} – The baby’s mother lies close by, but she is bleeding and in great pain. She had a retained placenta after giving birth, and all attempts at helping her are failing. Suddenly, she collapses, suffering from shock. The nurses and midwives manage to resuscitate and stabilize her, but they decide to transfer her and her baby to the better-equipped main hospital in the county capital Zwedru, where they will receive advanced care.

The Konobo health centre is more than 50 kilometres from the nearest hospital, reachable only by a rugged, unpaved road. Even four-wheel drive vehicles have difficulty navigating these roads during the dry season, but access is even harder during Liberia’s six-month-long rainy season, when the roads turn to soggy mud and ensnare most vehicles. Luckily, an ambulance is available and the mother is quickly transported to the hospital with her baby, where the medical team are able to remove the remaining placenta and give her a blood transfusion. The baby is given oxygen, and both are checked on regularly. Both survive.

The training sessions focus on building the skills of gCHVs to identify pregnant women in the community, and then encouraging them to get timely antenatal care and to give birth in health facilities, where trained health care personnel can provide appropriate care, like the mother and child in Grand Gedeh. These TTMs and gCHVs also promote postnatal care and exclusive breastfeeding, and identify danger signs in mothers and babies so they can be quickly referred to health facilities.

In addition to the trainings, UNICEF donated 19 four-wheel drive ambulances to support the transferral of maternal, newborn and child emergency cases from rural, hard-to-reach clinics to larger hospitals for more advanced care. It was one of these UNICEF-donated ambulances that helped transport the mother and baby from the Konobo rural health centre to the main hospital in Zwedru. READ MORE

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About Cholo Brooks 13149 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.