In Grand Bassa County, Nurses Use Cellphones To Deliver Pregnant Women Due To Lack Of Electricity

Picture:( Upper Left) The floor where pregnant women are place while in pain (Lower Left) The building being used as clinic (Right) A signboard erected by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations support based group

It was indeed a confused state of mind when some journalists visited the Bacconnie Community Clinic, a Liberian Government sponsored health center, in Grand Bassa County where they were amazingly told by nurses that delivering of pregnant women on a regular basis are done through the light of cellphones due to the lack of electricity.

According to journalists who visited the Clinic said, registered Nurses (RN) and Certified Midwife (CM) were at the Bacconnie Community Clinic in Bacconnie, Grand Bassa County who spoke to reporters expressed frustration over this unbearable situation, noting that the Liberian Government must see reason in making available generator for the Clinic.

Bacconnie has an estimated population of 1,800 is a coastal town located 5 kilometers on the west of Buchanan city, the administrative capital of Grand Bassa County.

The primary source of livelihood for the town’s inhabitants are fishing and trading.

Prior to 2011, the town did not have a clinic or a first aid post. The nearest available clinic was in the city of Buchanan, and it’s about 4 hours walking distance from the town.

Based on the constraints faced by citizens and residents of the town, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare along with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) constructed a clinic in the Bacconie community.

After the dedication of the clinic, health authorities in Grand Bassa County furnished the community clinic with all the requisite logistics, furniture and medical accessories needed to run a functional clinic.

Speaking to a team of reporters recently, the OIC of the clinic, Victoria W. Kekulah, the clinic lacks delivery beds and electricity to cater to women who are in labor pain at the clinic.

Miss Kekulah confirmed the materials provided to the clinic by the County health team in collaboration with the county’s leadership, but said the clinic is facing serious challenge despite its closest location to the county’s capital.

OIC Kekulah narrated that the clinic was on November 18, 2016 provided with several bedsheets by Senator Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence and those bedsheets are being used on the floor for delivery and discard them afterward.

“We use our phone lights for delivery. We don’t even have delivery beds. We spread the bedsheets Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence gave us on the ground for delivery. After giving birth, we carry them on the bed. Our job description is from 8am-5pm, but we work almost 24 hours because anytime patients can walk in. We live here at the compound without electricity,” she revealed.

Despite of all of these challenges they faced in such ‘appalling situation’ the OIC said they have had several delivery cases at night, but God has always intervened and the women have given birth freely on bedsheets on the ground at the clinic.

On generator at the Clinic:

She recounted that the lone generator provided to the clinic has been down since January 3, 2017 due to the lack of fuel and maintenance. Miss Kekulah further stated the entire clinic can be completely dark including the nurses’ quarter on the compound thereby making things hard for them.

“Labor case should not be done in darkness. Light supposed to be available 24hours. In the night, we don’t have light here. The whole place can be dark. Since January 3, 2017,” she added.


Staffs At The Clinic:

The clinic currently has two Registered Nurses (RNs) and one Certified Midwife (CM) and other support staffs, including three midwives. Kekulah however said the number of staffs at the clinic good enough for their operations as clinic in that remote part of the country.

According to her, she has been working in district number three Grand Bassa County, but was transferred to the clinic by health authority in the county. “They just put us in the car and brought us to Bacconnie facility. We met those materials here,” he noted.

Eddie L. Williams:

For his, Eddie L. Williams, the Protocol and Communications officer of Grand Bassa County boasted that everything was ‘splendid’ at the Bacconnie Community Clinic and it was in full swing.

Williams said the clinic was up to the standard as required by the Ministry of Health with full-support from the county portion of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF).

“As we speak, Bacconnie Community clinic is doing well for our people from that part of the county. The clinic is fully functional and exceeding well because all of what it takes has been provided to the clinic,” he said.

Sorbor George of MOH:

When contacted, the head of Communications at the Ministry of Health, Sorbor George said he was not ‘organized’ and promised to accept the calls later, but couldn’t respond up to this publication.

“Call me back later on, now where I am, I am not too organized,” he said.

About Bacconnie Community:

Bacconnie Community was established since the eighteenth century and it was adjacent to the multi million dollars LAMCO Joint Venture Mining Company that stayed around for more than twenty years but was reportedly neglected over the more than 20 years of the company’s existence.

The Community is now playing host to Arcelor Mittal Iron-ore Mining Company. Inhabitants of this community live on less than one dollar a day. The community is made of 14 villages with a population around 1,800 persons. The Community is predominately a low scale fishing community; therefore, most household income depends on the Atlantic Ocean.

During certain periods of the year especially the rainy season, fishing expedition is very difficult if not impossible due to the roughness of the tidal waves which reduces household income and has severe impact on the life of the inhabitants of the community.

By Reuben Sei Waylaun

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About Cholo Brooks 15829 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.