The Informer (Monrovia)

3 August 2012

Liberia: New Georgia Health Center Cries Neglect - Delivers Pregnant Women On Candle Light

The Government's only Health Center in the New Georgia Community is in serious need of electricity and other essential supplies to meet the demands of the public, according to senior staff members.

The shortage of these essential equipments to the health center is causing soaring impediments to the works of nurses and midwives assigned at the clinic.

Speaking to this at the health center recently Ms. Helen Green, head of the midwives section, said the lack of electricity at the entire clinic "imposes a serious impediment to our work forces here."

She indicated that as big as the health center is, catering to 45,000 to 50,000 people in the area, it continues to operate without an electricity.

"We that work at the midwives section continue to buy candles, lanterns and chime light on our own to work at night, when there is a pregnant women to be delivered that night," she lamented, adding, "and sometime we received up to two or three pregnant women at night which sometimes compel us to delivering them in the darkness."

Madam Green said "people might see it as an easy work, but to use it is very critical, bad and dangerous to our patients and the pregnant women who come to us to be delivered."

Another midwife, Mrs. Esther T. Cooper, for her part said the lack of electricity at the clinic is not the only problem hindering their work.

She asserted that the nurses and midwives assigned at the clinic lack adequate equipments that suppose to make their work more functional.

The only time this clinic ever had a current is when the 17-men team of medical doctors came from Canada in April of last year to provide a free medical service in various areas of the clinic at the invitation of the Plan For Children International. "Since then, we had never had a current," she asserted, indicating that it is a sign of how government is not care for the medical needs of its people with all the International Community is giving to this government.

While in the clinic, this writer met a 23-year-old baby mother, Marylyne Sirleaf, also a student of the University of Liberia, who gave birth in the darkness at the very clinic a year ago. She described what she went through at the time of delivery as "frustrating and pity" because of the absence of electricity.

"The day I came here for delivery, in my pain, there was no current, so my husband had to run out there to buy candle pack and candle light before the midwives were able to take care of me," she recalled. "It was God that came first and my husband came seconded, to rescue me."

The Head Administrator of the New Georgia Health Center Mr. Charles T. Chelrue confirmed the deplorable situation and described it as an "old history".

Mr. Chelrue said the lack of current at the public clinic was not the only problem there, but also the lack of medical equipment. He was however quick to note that "but importantly, we need electricity to be able to run this institution 24 hours daily."

He further explained that the administration is making effort for central government to come in and help through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and some NGO's that are in the promotion of health--to come to the aid of the public health center to save lives of the people.

This health center is reportedly the only public facility in Montserrado District #13. It was built in the 70's as a warehouse to store materials that were used to construct the New Georgia Housing Estate, but was later turned into a health facility. Daniel Norneh, UL Intern.

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