Friday, April 17, 2009

LIBERIAN HEALTH

society

MOH to Scrutinize Health Workers’ Performance

Ministry Gets 15 Ambulances

By Alaskai Moore Johnson, Health Correspondent & Leroy M. Sonpon, III

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a survey that will scrutinize the performances of health workers in managing malaria cases in the country.

The survey seeks to insure proper usage of the new malaria drug, Artemisinin-base Combination Therapy (ACT), as its prime objective.

It is part of a nationwide campaign on maternal and newborn mortality reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention and health facility-based survey on malaria.

During the launching ceremonies, which took place at the MOH on Monday, April 13, 2009, UNICEF donated a consignment of equipment for emergency referral and turned over 15 ambulances, purchased with Government funds, to the MOH. Another MOH partner, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) made a donation of a consignment of drugs.

The ambulances, which are to be assigned to the counties, will be used for prompt referral of pregnant women who have complications during and or after delivery.

Also at the program, Cultural Ambassador Julie Endee’s Crusaders for Peace and the Health Promotion Division of the MOH presented a social mobilization documentary geared towards mobilizing the general population to form alliances to promote maternal and newborn health and bring about changes at multiple levels.

“These initiatives are intended to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4, 5 and 6 as well as the National Health Plan and the Basic Package for Health Services (BPHS),” a statement from the organizers read.

The UN MDGs 4, 5 & 6 seek to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

At a separate program, meanwhile, an official of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) disclosed that out of every 100,000, 994 women died at child birth in Liberia.

Mrs. Esther Lincoln, quoting the 2007 demographic and health report on Liberia, indicated that the double increase in the country’s death rate is alarming as compared to the 2000 reports which stated that 578 women die for every 100,000 at child birth.

Speaking to participants at a six-day workshop in Monrovia last Saturday, the UNFPA official urged county health teams to help create awareness among women about preventive measures relative to maternal mortality.

She further underscored the need to sensitize women in the country on reproductive health issues, saying “Reproductive health encompasses key areas of the UNFPA vision – that every child is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”

Mrs. Lincoln asserted that it remains the leading cause of sickness and death for women of childbearing age worldwide.

According to the medical practitioner, impoverished women suffer disproportionately from unintended pregnancies, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other problems related to their reproductive system and sexual behavior.

UNFPA is fully committed to mobilizing support and scaling up efforts to make reproductive health for all a reality by 2015. We hope by that time, the maternal mortality rate, teenage pregnancy and others can be kicked out of Liberia,” declared the UNFPA official, who is currently assigned with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Meanwhile, reproductive health superintendents, reproductive commodity managers and pharmacists from the 15 counties of Liberia, along with representatives of some hospitals in and out of Monrovia, participated the just ended six-day intensive training which was held last week at the YMCA Building on Broad Street, Crown Hill.

It was held on the topic: “Reproductive Health Commodity Supply Chain and Data Management.”

According to Menmon P. Z. Dunah, chairman of the workshop, who also served as a facilitator, the forum sought to enhance the professional capacities of health personnel in the counties and hospitals to improve the country’s reproductive health care program and supply chain management of medicines.

This initiative, he hopes, would benefit public health outcomes by increasing program impact, enhance quality of care and improve cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

“Because young people often face barriers in trying to get the information or care they need, adolescent reproductive health has become a problem in our society, and an important focus of UNFPA programming.

According to him, all programming relies on the availability of essential supplies.

“And in order to tackle the increasing rate of death of Liberian women at child birth, there is a need for us to bring on board the county health teams and major hospitals in Liberia to help UNFPA/the Government of Liberia fight this problem,” facilitator A. Vaifee Tulay stated.

Hospitals and clinics that participated in the trainings included the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK), Redemption Hospital, St. Joseph Catholic, ELWA, SDA Cooper, and Merci hospitals.

Others were Goodwill, Malag, Mawah, Star of the Sea and SOS hospitals.

The symposium was organized by the Family Health division and Supply Chain Units of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

It was held with the sponsorship of the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA).

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