When 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)
By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, firstname.lastname@example.orgImagine hearing a conversation in a Target so good, so juicy, so enticing, that you decide it should become a play- then you make it so. That’s what happened to Vernon Williams III and the DC Black Broadway crew after Williams overheard a conversation in 2015. Four years later that overheard conversation is now Confessions of a Side Chick and is coming to the Lincoln Theatre on July 20.“How I wanted the play to go- beginning, middle and end- all that came about years ago,” Williams told the AFRO in an exclusive interview. “I did other stage plays and things of that nature, before I got to this one. And we decided to sit down and get this one done because it’s a great topic and a great story line.”“Confessions of a Side Chick” will be at the Lincoln Theatre on July 20 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m (Courtesy Photo)“It’s a topic in our society that needs to be talked about. That needs to be dealt with,” Williams added.The topic of a “Side Chick,” is one that has been mentioned in popular culture, but not always fully discussed, explained and investigated through the arts. In classic DC Black Broadway fashion, as the same people who brought the sold-out productions of Stranger in My House, What Your Man Won’t Do and The Giz, Confessions of a Side Chick was created to bring homegrown talent and celebrities to local audiences and entertain with a powerful message.DC Black Broadway, producers of “The Giz” and “What Men Want”, recently produced “Confessions of a Side Chick” which will be at the Lincoln Theatre on July 20. (Courtesy Photo)Some of the play’s talent includes BET Sunday’s Best winner Y’anna Crawley, D.C. native Anwan “Big G” Glover, actor and producer Omar Terell and actor Dremon Cooper.Williams explained why he feels the Side Chick message is so relevant in today’s culture.“It’s so much variety out here… so people are not staying to their core values, they’re not sticking to the values of marriage,” he said. “Everybody’s looking for something else to do, but there are other things to do. You could pick up a hobby, read a book, do something else- get with the Lord. People are out here finding easy ways out and that’s not the easy way out.”Speaking of getting with the Lord, as DC Black Broadway worked on the finishing touches of the four-year project, Pastor Keith Battle was also delving into the subject of Side Chicks.Battle, pastor of Zion Church Landover released a book Side Chickology: Why Men & Women Cheat: Understanding, Avoiding, & Recovering from Infidelity earlier this year, to rave reviews. In addition to the book, he also took the lessons of Side Chickology to the pulpit. Battle’s recent book and sermons perfectly correlated with DC Black Broadway’s mission of bringing awareness to the dangerous nuances of cheating to audiences. “It just so happened that Pastor Battle was doing his book Side Chickology and doing a lot of sermons about it… So this coincided with Pastor Battle and his book,” Williams told the AFRO.As audiences attend the Lincoln Theatre for the play, Battle will be there selling his book and will also be present to provide spiritual and mental comfort for those grappling with the heavy topics explored in Confessions of a Side Chick.“His book can sell at the stage play, and then people can come to the show- that are also having issues in their marriage or whatever- Pastor Battle can fill the need for counseling for people there,” Williams explained.The creative team behind Confessions of a Side Chick made it clear that while entertaining, the play was raw and heavy.“It’s a real life story. It’s a story and it’s not cleaned up,” writer and producer Lovaill Long told the AFRO.Its raw nature is one of the reasons Long contends the message and play is so necessary.“I think it’s so important because it [teaches],” Long said. “Life brings many changes, sometimes everything is not good. Sometimes it takes bad things to happen for us men to grow up,” he added hoping to not ruin any bit of the play’s storyline.For now, audiences will only have one day (July 20) and two performances (4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) to see this juicy topic played out on stage at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St N.W. For tickets to Confessions of a Side Chick visit https://www.thelincolndc.com or call (202) 888-0050. Tickets range from $48.50 to $100 depending on seating preferences and availability.