10 March 2017

Liberia: We Care Solar to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Liberia

Monrovia — A non-governmental organization, We Care Solar, has embarked on an initiative to reduce maternal mortality in the country.

Dubbed 'Light ever childbirth,' We Care Solar executive director, Dr. Laura Stachel, said they want to ensure every pregnant woman has an access to reliable lighting and essential electricity.

Speaking during the launch of the initiative, she said her organization is working with partners to ensure that all mothers have access to timely emergency obstetric care in well- equipped health centers.

She disclosed that they have worked in partnership with WHO and the office of vice president Joe Bokai.

Dr. Stachel disclosed that during the Ebola crises, the solar suitcase assisted with Ebola surveillance, at the same time the organization worked with UN Women on a healthcare program, and also discussed a countrywide initiative with the Ministry of Health.

"By powering critical obstetric lightning, mobile phones, fetal heart rate monitors, health workers are equipped with the power to save lives."

"The solar suitcase has been shown to: increase health workers morale, and increase the update of skilled health care by expectant mothers."

Deputy Health Minister Dr. Francis Kateh who pledged the ministry's support to the initiative and described the solar suitcase as a blessing to the country's health system.

Vice President Joseph Boakai encouraged government officials to work in the common interest of the country.

He said the solar suitcase is a simple and effective for the wellbeing of maternal processes.

"If you take assignment, it is not about you but the people. So if you have an email, letter, or have a call, respond to it because it may be in the interest of the same country you represent," Ambassador Boakai.

Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal deaths (25 per cent).

The neonatal mortality rate is 26 for every 1,000 live births, and one in every 11 Liberian children dies before reaching her or his fifth birthday. Moreover, children in rural areas are more likely to die young compared to children in urban areas.

Liberia has a high rate of infant mortality (67 babies die out of every 1,000 live births) and a life expectancy of just 59 years.

When the country's decade-long civil war ended in 2003, were just 50 doctors in a country of 4 million people.

UNICEF in its 2016 reported that with 1,072 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births adding that Liberia has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world.


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