KARNPLAY, Nimba – The Nimba County Health Team has dedicated additions to two health facilities in Yarwein Mehnsonnoh and Gbeh-lay Geh Statutory Districts.
Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah dedicated the Duotiayee Clinic’s youth-friendly center and five structures at the Karnplay Health Center, including a maternal waiting home, staff quarters, a center for prenatal care, a youth-friendly center, and a district health office.
Speaking at the dedication of the health facilities in Karnplay, Jallah said the facility belongs to the citizens; she urged them to ensure that those facilities are well protected.
She promised that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare would furnish the facilities with the necessary equipment but asked that local health officials make requests to the central ministry.
She called on the traditional trained midwives and other health workers in Karnplay to encourage pregnant women to go to the Karnplay Health Center for treatment to save lives in the district.
“One of our challenges is maternal mortality – that means plenty of our women are dying when they give birth to their babies and [it] shouldn’t happen because that’s supposed [to] be happy time, not sad time,” she said.
Liberia has one of the world’s highest rate of maternal mortality, defined as a death of either a pregnant woman or death of a woman within 42 days of delivery, miscarriage, termination or an ectopic pregnancy.
So grim is the issue of maternal mortality in the country that the Ministry of Health regularly collects data on maternal mortality along with highly contagious diseases such as measles, Ebola, and Lassa fever in its weekly Epidemiology Bulletin.
Jallah encouraged citizens of Gbeh-lay Geh Statutory District, including the youth, to take advantage of the new health facilities in Karnplay to improve their health.
“When you go there, they will make you get well because healthy people are wealthy people, so please go there early, let us join hands together to keep the people of Karnplay healthy,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gbeh-lay Geh’s district health officer, Aaron Glay, used the occasion to draw attention to the numerous health problems facing the district. He said the lack of ambulance at the Karnplay Health Center is contributing to a high number of preventable deaths.
Speaking to journalists after the dedication ceremony, Glay also said the health center in Karnplay operates without electricity.
“Health workers of the Karnplay Health Center sometimes use phone light to carry on major operations at the health center,” he said.
He called on the Nimba County Health Team to ensure that the requisite health needs are provided in a timely manner, to provide a permanent remedy to problems faced by the Karnplay Health Center.
Glay then assured officials at the Ministry of Health that he would ensure that the new facilities under his control would be properly managed and maintained.
Present at the program was Rep. Joseph Somwarbi of Nimba’s third district, who co-chairs the House of Representatives’ Health Committee. He said he would lobby with his colleagues to ensure that the health center receives its just benefit and that the Karnplay Health Center would be prioritized while he served at the House of Representatives.
Somwarbi, who holds a master’s degree in public health, urged the district health officer to document and forward major health priorities to his office for redress. He said the health facilities are positive contributions toward better maternal health outcomes in his district.
The facilities were built with support from the USAID-sponsored program, FARA.
Featured photo by Franklin Nehyalor