BRAC Increases Maternal, Neo-Natal Child Health Services

first_imgWhen parents have a child in Finland, they don’t have to worry about a huge medical bill. In Liberia, the story is quite different.BRAC-Liberia has scaled up on reproductive maternal and neonatal child health services in the country. It is a leading a non-profit development organization with a mission to fulfilling the potential of underprivileged people through the implementation of programs in health, agriculture, poultry and livestock, youth empowerment as well as microfinance.Accordingly, BRAC’s Reproductive Maternal, Neo Natal and Child Health (RMNCH) program is implemented by their staff, who work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, along with community health promoters, whose works are aimed at improving health at the community level.BRAC has designed this program as a way forward in giving its own support to the government by helping people to recognize the importance of accessing health facilities, thereby reducing maternal and child mortalities in the country.At age 19, Deborah Dixon is one of the BRAC RMNCH project beneficiaries. Ms. Dixon is grateful to the Community Health Promoter for the continuous health awareness, which has so far encouraged her to always seek treatment at a health facility rather than staying home. “BRAC workers also talk to us on breastfeeding and taking our children for vaccination,” she said. She also talked about how BRAC health workers pass by after every two weeks to do follow up.Sonnie Scott, another beneficiary and a mother of three, who lives in West Point, told the Observer Health Desk that she didn’t know anything about the program until she came in contact with the health promoters. She had swollen feet as a result of pregnancy. The health promoters encouraged her to go to the nearby health facility, where she remained and delivered her baby recently. “After giving birth, they normally make sure everything is in place for the baby, including breastfeeding,” she said of BRAC’s health workers.Kumasa Mulbah, a health coordinator, mentioned that as these health promoters visit the people daily from house to house, they are able to interact with them, encouraging the patients to realize the need to come to the health facility.“Learning to recognize high risks in pregnancy,” Mulbah indicated, “is among a series of trainings conducted by BRAC in partnership with the Ministry of Health, where all of the community health promoters and trained traditional midwives (TTMs) are taught to encourage pregnant women go to health facilities as often as possible.“A lot of people in the communities believe in the health promoters and TTMs because they are living in the community with them and are always on hand to provide much needed health services and tips,” Mulbah stated. She further said some women, who were previously refusing to seek health care at the facility, now have a great deal of confidence in the TTMs and community health promoters.“We currently have booths at different weekly markets where we give services like female condoms, injectables and pills. As we go to the communities, we encourage them to go to the facilities and to take family planning seriously,” she added.According to BRAC, West Point and parts adjacent have approximately 4,000 households and 20 community health promoters. Under the RMNCH, BRAC Liberia encourages TTMs and the community health promoters to identify pregnant women and girls and refer them to the nearest health facility through their household visits to community dwellers.Mr. Mohammed Abdus Salam, BRAC Liberia Country Representative, expressed his organization’s total commitment to reducing maternal and newborn deaths in the country. He stressed the need to work with other partners and key stakeholders to realize this goal.Meanwhile, scores of residents in the West Point area are calling on the Ministry of Health to prioritize the Reproductive Maternal, Neo Natal and Child Health services for women and adolescents. This, they believe, will help reduce risks associated with maternal and child health. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Protesting Schools Ordered Closed

first_imgA number of students who demonstrated in Margibi County, vandalized properties and blocked major highways trying to claim government’s attention—all in an effort to see their teachers back in the classrooms—have definitely missed the mark.This is because their action has caused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to order those teachers who had protested, dismissed, while she promised to deal with students who were part of the demonstrations.An outraged President Sirleaf upon her arrival from the United States at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County yesterday, called on the Ministry of Education (MOE) to close with immediate effect, those schools that carried out the strike actions. She also said that if teachers of those schools were involved, they should be dismissed as well. On Tuesday, protesting students in Unification Town (Smell-No-Taste) near RIA blocked the airport-Monrovia highway demanding the return of their teachers to class.This was preceded by another strike action on Monday, when normal commercial activities and the free-flow of traffic were brought to a standstill in Kakata, Margibi County’s political capital. Those students took to the streets in solidarity with the leadership of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) demanding the resignations of Minister Werner and MCSS Superintendent Jacobs.The students’ actions, however, turned violent, resulting in ransacking of several public buildings in Kakata. Also, they reportedly vandalized government facilities, including the 13th Judicial Circuit Court, offices of the National Elections Commission, the county’s Service Center and part of the fence that surrounds the Ministry of Education (MOE) facilities in Kakata. As to the fate of the striking students, President Sirleaf said the students’ actions have caused a lot of loses to the government, private citizens, companies and organizations, especially airlines and as such, the students would have to bear the consequences of their actions. “I’m going to instruct the Ministry of Education to close those schools immediately. We are going to ask for those students who were involved in the protest and deal with them,” she declared, adding, “And if there were teachers involved, they too will be dismissed until we see them handle themselves as leaders in the classrooms.”The President indicated that her government will begin a program of discipline in the country, noting, “I heard the news of the students’ strike action while I was in Ghana on Wednesday.”“It was brought to my attention that on Tuesday students blocked the RIA road, our major highway. As a result of that, many people came to their flights by changing from cars to riding on motorbikes, carrying their luggage in their hands and on their heads. Some of them also ended up missing their flights,” she said.The President was concerned because most of the airlines left RIA without taking their required passengers which was a loss to them. Some of the schools to be affected by the President’s pronouncement are the Lango Lappaye High School, E. J. Yancy, the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI) Demonstration School, all in Kakata, and the Harbel Multilateral R. S. Caulfield High School in Harbel and Smell-No-Taste.Although the President’s decision could be referred to as generic because not all of the students in those schools went out to protest, all of them will now bear the same consequences. The Liberia National Police attempted to calm the rising tension when the newly appointed Inspector General, Gregory Coleman, began discussions among the MOE, NTAL and the MCSS Teachers Association to end the hostilities, but the President’s pronouncement might have scuttled those talks.Coleman, during his intervention, said the sporadic blocking of major highways in the country, including the Monrovia-Kakata highway and the RIA-Monrovia highway by protesting students was worrisome.Coleman encouraged the belligerent parties to find ways to get the students to return to their classrooms as soon as possible.He said finding a quick and amicable solution to the standoff was important for the country’s peace and security, and also for the benefit of the innocent students who are victims of the unfortunate situation.Some local radio stations, including the Liberia Broadcasting System, have reported that other than Margibi, some public school students and teachers in Lofa, Gbarpolu, River Cess, and other counties also joined in the demonstrations to demand Werner’s resignation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more