Liberia: 11 Women Didn't Have to Die in Childbirth

News that 11 pregnant women in Nimba County died in 2021 during home delivery at various periods is unfortunate and speaks volumes about the health sector in Liberia.

Nimba County has the second-highest population next to Montserrado County in Liberia, but access to health seems to be a challenge despite having one of the major referral hospitals (Jackson Fiah Doe Referral Hospital). Access is being undermined by the lack of ambulances to respond to emergency cases such as pregnant women in labor pain.

Pregnant women from distant villages and towns are often constrained to give birth at home, a process sometimes characterized by complications, leading to death.

It is unfortunate that Liberia, a country that is celebrating 200 years of existence would lack basic logistics in its health system. Resilient health services should be holistic, transportation inclusive.

But it appears that the Weah administration has its priorities misplaced or relegated. While the entire health system is plagued by enormous challenges, the Executive is busy dishing out US$30,000 to each member of the Legislature for so-called 'Legislative Engagement'.

Neglect of the health sector of Liberia is having a serious toll on ordinary citizens who lack the financial power to seek medication abroad. On the other hand, government officials usually send their wives and other relatives abroad for medication, while the nation's health system is dysfunctional.

Where citizens are fortunate in reaching out to an ambulance, hospital staff requests money from sick and impoverished patients, or their relatives to buy fuel in order to respond to emergency calls. If such requests are not met, prolonged delays lead to patients' death. The experiences being discussed are just for Nimba County.

Stories in other counties across the country are not different, especially in hard-to-reach areas such as Grand Kru, Gbarpolu and Rivergee, among others. Even here in Monrovia, the capital, getting an ambulance at late hours is difficult and disappointing.

Recently in Gbarpolu, a raped victim reportedly died of excessive bleeding due to a lack of an ambulance to rush her to hospital. She was kept for two days in her condition while means were being explored to get her to hospital but unfortunately died.

Those in leadership and politicians aspiring for power ought to know that security, health, education, and food are cardinal needs of the people. They should not be compromised for any other thing. Doing so is cruelty and wickedness!

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