Liberian nurses learn to spot danger signs in babies as healthcare gets shot in arm

Maria, 17, who is pregnant with her second child, waits to be examined at the Well Baby clinic in Buchanan, Liberia. All photographs by Kate Holt
Maria, 17, who is pregnant with her second child, waits to be examined at the Well Baby clinic in Buchanan, Liberia. All photographs by Kate Holt

Ebola exposed the weakness of Liberia’s health system but some clinics are now offering more effective diagnosis and streamlined services

The Well Baby clinic in Buchanan is busy. But that’s not unusual. The clinic, a two-hour drive from Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, sees between 700 and 1,000 mothers and children each week.

Nurse Cellian Fahncole sits in a consulting room off the main waiting room. She is examining a baby girl and asking the mother a series of questions, checking the responses against a list. “I am asking, ‘Does the child have fever and for how long? Is the fever accompanied by other symptoms?’ I refer to my book and check for danger signs, which are highlighted in pink. If there is any one of the danger signs, I know that I need to refer the child to a hospital,” she says.

Fahncole is using a system of diagnosis in which midwives and nurses in 77 health facilities across three counties were recently trained.

“The mother said the child was coughing so I did a breath count on the child, measuring how many breaths per minute, but the breath count did not fall into the pink zone on my check list so I know that was not serious. READ MORE OF THIS STORY

SOURCES: NewsNow/The Guardian Online

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About Cholo Brooks 10804 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.