4 April 2019

Liberia: Nyehn's Health Center in Logistical Crisis

-As Electricity, Ambulance Contribute To Maternal Hurdles In Todee

In the last two years, Liberia has registered a slight decline in maternal deaths of (1500) deaths per 100,000 life's births in 1990 to 725 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.

Liberia's maternal death rate is said to be higher than the average rate for developing nations around the world (239 per 100,000 live births).

Survey revealed that Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa Countries have some of the highest maternal death rates in Liberia (Margibi 44, Grand Bassa 33 and Montserrado 283).

Maternal death ratio is 1,072 out of every 100,000 life's birth in Liberia; the high maternal death rate is one of the major health problems facing women and teenage girls in the country.

This is also attributed to Liberia's high teen-age pregnancy rate, the lack of ambulance, electricity and medical care in most rural communities across the country as some of the major factors responsible for the high maternal death rate.

This case is unique to the "Nyenhn Health Center" the only referral health facility in Todee District, Montserrado County that is catering to the total casement population of over 12,288 mostly women and children.

Speaking with Health, County officials and residents in Todee, they mentioned the lack of electricity, ambulance, and drugs as major factors responsible for complication in patient health conditions particularly maternal health related issues.

Explaining the health conditions of people in the area, Commissioner Daniel Pabie mentioned the lack of ambulance as one of the major problems facing citizens in that part of Montserrado County something that lead to complication in patient health as well as pregnant women and children falling prey.

He furthered "In the case where the center will have to referred a patient, that person family will have to find a car or motorbike to carry the person to CH Rennie or Monrovia which is some five to six hours away," commissioner Pabie explained to reporter.

He revealed that the only ambulance was stolen and later retrieved and sent back to the Ministry of Health in 2017 since then; the Ministry is yet to provide another ambulance to serve the people in the district.

"It is very serious problem for the ordinary people living in Todee and if not urgently addressed, it could likely result to increase in the number of deaths," he claimed.

Also remarking, Zotawon Gonpu, officer In-Charge, Nyenhn Health Center named lack of ambulance and power supply as major challenge the facility is faced with.

It is reported that health worker use "Chinese Light" to attend to women who are in labor or others emergency cases when the solar-panel goes off.

Speaking with this media at the facility in Todee, Gonpu narrates: "Here, we do not have fuel, we use solar-panel which is sometime not reliable so we use Chinese light to respond to emergency cases especially in the night when women are in labor and the solar-panel goes off."

According to Gonpu, this is not the safest way but, they cannot sit and watch the people die; so, as such, they have to use their own description to save the people's lives while hoping for government to intervene in the situation

"Now we do not have ambulance, unlike before. In term of referral, we asked the patient family to find car or motorbike to transport their patients while we send a midwife or birth attendance to escort them to the referred hospital," Gonpu further narrated.

He bewailed that: "Before, we use to call to Bensonville to send ambulance but it's like; they too are facing challenge in term of fuel. Motorbike is not the surest way, but it is the only option that we have, so we cannot sit and allow the people to die because there is no ambulance."

Gonpu disclosed that the only ambulance serving people in the district was stolen by criminals; it was later found and taken to GSA. "The ambulance was not for MOH rather Internal Affairs so the Ministry is working on sending a new ambulance here.

Todee has boundaries with Bomi, Margibi, Bong, and Gbarpolu Counties, people from these counties particularly pregnant women crossover to Nyenhn Health Center to be treated.

It has eight (8) Clans with a total population of about 38,000 people, but lacks basic social services like electricity, ambulance, and medical supplies among other things as compared to other rural counties in Liberia. TNR

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