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

President Nkurunziza, Give Your People a New Year Gift of Peace

first_imgNever before in the history of Burundi has the country’s peace depended solely on one man—Pierre Nkurunziza.The whole world, but most especially the Burundian people themselves, know the recent history of this East African nation—a history that turned the nation topsy-turvy (upside down). Bloodshed and instability ensued. Yes, it started just eight months ago, last April, when PresidentNkurunziza made his ominous announcement that, despite the constitutional restriction and clear and unmistakable opposition of his people, he would seek a third term of office.To demonstrate their opposition and distaste for this unconstitutional move by their President, the people took to the streets demonstrating against his decision. But instead of bowing to the will of the people, instead of sensing the resolute undercurrent of discontent in the country, the President responded with brutality and bloodshed, killing, maiming and imprisoning anyone his ruthless security forces could put their hands on. The situation became so desperate that neighboring Rwandan President Paul Kagame was forced to ask, “What kind of politics is this”—killing people every day just to stay in power against the will of the people.President Kagame had reason to be disturbed by the horrendous developments in Burundi. Already thousands of Burundians, fleeing the widening violence, had voted, with their feet next door into Rwanda seeking refuge. President Kagame feared the outbreak of civil war in Burundi, which would seriously threaten the peace in the sub-region and in Rwanda itself—a country which, under his astute and progressive leadership, has over the past decade made serious and remarkable economic, political and economic progress.So successful has Rwanda become that it shines as a highly positive example of good governance and progress. For this reason, the people last week voted in a referendum to change the constitution to allow their enlightened, forward-looking and successful to seek a third term of office.Our only prayer is that President Paul Kagame, realizing that his prospective reelection would mark his last term of office, will not change course by relaxing his progressive, development-oriented program and start taking the people and everything else for granted.We think the warning is appropriate and timely because we have seen it in all too many places, where leaders in their last term just sit and do little or nothing, leaving the country stagnant and retrogressive and the people in a state of despondency, despair and decay. Some leaders in their last term also turn repressive, and start ruling the country with an iron fist, causing more suffering and economic and financial suffocation. President Kagame must avoid this at all cost and let the light of one East African nation radiate throughout the continent, inspiring others.But how can President Nkurunziza bring peace to Burundi? He can do so by developing the courage, goodwill and compassion for his suffering and troubled people by resigning the presidency. This alone will immediately restore the peace in Burundi and cause the people to rejoice and even thank him for diffusing the rising political chaos threatening the country. The people would be happy and so would he, and the country would be restored to peace and normalcy, ready even at additional expense, to stage a new free, fair and transparent election that would cause the world, too, to rejoice and be glad in the New Year, 2016.Perhaps this is something President Kagame can make happen by visiting his fellow President and giving him a simple advice—“Step aside and restore the peace in your country. Your people will thank you for it.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more