This news article was originally published in Daily Observer (Liberia) here.
Liberia ranks the 7th globally, 3rd in Africa for maternal and newborn mortality
Liberia’s newborn babies death rate is among the highest in the world, increased from 997/100,000 (997 deaths per 100,000 live births) to 1,072/100,000 (1,072 deaths per 100,000 live births). In order to curb these deaths, a local civil society organization, the Partnership for Sustainable Development (PaSD), has delivered a newborn mortality reduction strategy to the House of Representatives.
Liberia is the 7th in the world in terms of maternity and newborn deaths, and 3rd in Africa, meaning the maternal death rate has continued to increase since the year 2000.
The acting national executive director of PaSD, David P. Flomo, challenged the House of Representatives on Friday, June 21, 2019, to create budget lines for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH).
Members of the Lower House who met with PaSD in the Conference Room of Speaker Bhofal Chambers were: House Committee chairman on Health, Rep. Joseph Somwarbi; chairperson on Gender, Equity, Child Development and Social Services and member of the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, Rep. Julie Wiah; chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus and member of the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, Rep. Rosana Schaack; and Rep. Byron Zahnwea, member of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Committee.
Mr. Flomo told lawmakers to increase the national health budget to 15% and create budget lines to accelerate the reduction of maternal mortality, and promote sexual, reproductive and child health.
“Mortality rate of children under five years of age per 1,000 live births in Liberia is 94; and the total fertility rate of births per woman stood at 4.5 in 2018; and also 26% of adolescent pregnancies are unintended and 30 percent end in unsafe abortion,” Mr. Flomo said.
He added: “Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 54; teenage pregnancy rate is among the highest in the sub-region at 31% – this means 3 in 10 – and the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel is 61.”
Separately, Reps. Somwarbi, Wiah, Schaack and Zahnwea thanked the PaSD for the advocacy but urged the committee to present to them a holistic document to reduce maternal mortality and promote sexual, reproductive and child health.
The County Health Coordinator for Save the Children, M. Jacob F. Tengbeh, told the lawmakers that creating the budget lines would help the government improve maternal and newborn health.
He called on the government to provide access to skilled birth attendants and promote delivery in facilities equipped for emergency obstetric care, stressing that newborn care are core requirements for pregnant women. Save the Children is the main sponsor of PaSD.
This is the fifth initiative of the PaSD ahead of the 2019/2020 Budget submission on the advocacy of increasing the health budget and creating budget lines.
The PaSD petitioned Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), challenging the government to create clear budget lines for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH).View External Link