Montserrado County Flag
Doctor Wants Journalists Strengthen Coverage On Health Sector
By Prince S. Nagbe, LINA
MONROVIA, June 27 (LINA) - A Liberian medical doctor has called on journalists and the mass media to educate, advocate, enlighten and sensitize on all strata of the society on health-related issues, especially maternal health.
Dr. Louise Mapleh Kpoto, an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist noted that journalists have a very critical role to play in improving the health sector of the country, especially in the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality in the society.
Dr. Kpoto made the call when she served as facilitator at a three-day Health Reporting Training for over 20 Internews 2016 Health Journalism Fellows in Monrovia recently.
Dr. Kpoto said though health experts know the interventions needed to avert much of the burden of maternal and prenatal deaths and disabilities, its success depends on the role played by the mass media in creating awareness, especially in girls’ education, family planning and available transport for emergencies, among others.
The Gynaecologist disclosed that most maternal deaths are avoidable, as the healthcare solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known, but that it requires constant awareness and education, especially by journalists.
She explained that of all health indicators, maternal mortality reveals the greatest gap between rich and poor women, both between and within countries.
Dr. Kpoto wants journalists to ensure that maternal health and maternal mortality are reduced by calling on the government to mobilize political will and the enabling policy environment, invest in female education, poverty reduction and improve women’s health status.
She said journalists should also ensure that the government offers family planning services, provide quality antenatal care, skilled attendance during childbirth, availability of emergency obstetric equipment for complications in pregnancy.
According to her, the health sector, especially maternal health, is challenged at different levels ranging from inadequate in-service training, to increase in workload and shortage of midwives.
Dr. Kpoto also named low motivation for health workers, limited health logistics, and inadequate ward space for delivery and resting, lack of adequate vehicles and ambulances and weak supply chain for maternal health logistics as challenges affecting the sector.
Liberia now has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the sub-region.
During the immediate pre-Ebola era, Liberia had a maternal mortality rate of 1,072 for 100,000 live births, according to the Liberia Demography and Health Survey 2013 report, an evidence of non-improvement from 770 from every 100,000 live births in 2007.