To Combat Maternal Deaths, Waiting Home Nears Completion in River Cess

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BOEGEEZAY, River Cess – A maternal waiting home sponsored by the World Food Programme is nearing completion in Boegeezay Town, in the Doedein Health District.

The building, according to health authorities in River Cess, is 95 percent complete, and when completed, will accommodate four pregnant women and nurses.

According to Yougie Flomo, the health promotion focal person of the River Cess County Health Team, WFP is funding the project.

“There will be certified midwives assigned at the maternal waiting home,” Flomo said.

A recent site visit revealed several amenities at the facility to accommodate the women and their caretakers. The building has four rooms for pregnant women, along with two additional rooms for nurses and or midwives to be assigned at the home.

Maternal waiting homes are structures built near government health facilities to accommodate pregnant women who are in their last month of pregnancy and live more than an hour of walking distance from the facility.

The Ministry of Health has a policy that aims to have all citizens living no more than an hour away from a health facility to better access health delivery systems. Liberia has not yet reached that standard. This may have contributed to Liberia’s declining but still high maternal deaths. In 2016, the Ministry of Health recorded 302 maternal deaths across the country. For every 100,000 live child births, Liberia had an annualized mortality rate of 171.

In an effort to curb maternal deaths, the government and its partners introduced these maternal waiting homes. In August 2016, Farzee Johnson, the reproductive health supervisor of the River Cess County Health Team said 95 percent of maternal waiting homes in the county were not functional.

In 2016, River Cess health authorities said six women died while giving birth, in a population of over 70,000, according to the 2008 census. Johnson said these deaths were due to delays in getting the women to health facilities.

Featured photo by Eric Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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