(LINA) – The United Nations Office in Liberia has said it is committed to supporting the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda which will tackle the issue of maternal mortality by making healthcare the number one priority.
Representing the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations at the official launch of the program “Rebuilding Maternal and Newborn Health Services in Post Ebola Liberia” held at the Monrovia City Hall on Tuesday, UN Women Country Representative, Marie Goreth Nizigama emphasized that the UN will continue to work with the government to ensure that no woman dies while giving birth.
“With the combined effort of the government, United Nations, development partners and civil society, we can ensure that Liberia’s health system is made vibrant and one of the best by ensuring that highly trained midwives are available at the national, county, district and community levels,” Nizigama added.
She pointed out that the UN acknowledges the role midwives play in making the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of women and children in Liberia every year, and as such it is important that midwives get adequate training in order to provide appropriate interventions in the case of emergency to prevent avoidable fatality.
The UN envoy therefore urged the government to increase budgetary allocations to midwifery trainings and motivation for young midwives who will be able to take over from those who are about to retire.
She also called on the Ministry of Health to allocate resources in its budget for supplies and equipment to enhance work at health facilities across the country, adding, “It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every woman and girl gets quality reproductive health and do not have to die from preventable sicknesses such as malaria and other preventable diseases.”
She noted that it is also very important that women and girls have access to the right education to make wise health reproductive decisions and get quality and timely healthcare.
Quoting a 2013 LISGIS Report, Nizigama explained that 100 children die per every 1,000 life birth in Liberia, noting, “This is a cause for alarm and it reflects a high need to providing quality obstetric care to pregnant mothers.”
“The report also signifies high adolescence fatalities and a low proportion of birth attended by trained midwives in a safe and well-equipped healthcare facility,” she stressed.
Nizigama revealed that it is estimated that currently, four out of every 10 women in Liberia give birth at home without a skilled birth attendant, thereby increasing the risk of dying during birth through complications.
She said the UN therefore welcomes the initiative to improve the capacity of midwives in order to provide quality maternal and newborn healthcare to women and girls because they are the main caregivers for women and the newborns during pregnancy, labour, childbirth and the anti-natal period.
The program was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from Johnson & Johnson, a US-based organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and civil society organizations, among others.