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UNFPA Official Speaks On Maternal Healthcare
By Philip T. Singbah, LINA Bong County Correspondent
GBARNGA, July 18 (LINA) - The Reproductive Health Specialist at UNFPA-Liberia, Esther Lincoln, has stressed the need for quality human workforce to address Liberia’s high maternal mortality.
According to Lincoln, Liberia’s maternal mortality ratio is steadily increasing, despite past achievements in meeting the Millennium Development Goal #4 on improved maternal and newborn healthcare.
She explained that Liberia’s Demography Health Survey (DHS) indicates that out of 100,000 live births in 2000 there were 580 deaths, 994 deaths to 100,000 live births in 2007 and the current DHS which was conducted in 2013 puts the country's maternal ratio at 1,072 deaths to 100, 000 live births.
Madam Lincoln said the DHS also shows high fertility rate estimated at 5.2% in 2007 and a decline to 4.7 in 2013, while low contraceptive prevalence rate found at 11% in 2007 slowly rose to 20% in 2013.
The UNFPA Reproductive Health specialist further noted that unmet need for family planning found at 36% in 2007 decreased to 31% in 2013.
The Demography Health Survey (DHS) is conducted after every five years to ascertain the strength and weaknesses of the health sector to inform government and partners in taking measures to further improve the sector.
Serving as keynote speaker at the 35th Graduation of the Phebe Para-Medical Training Program held in Suakoko District Saturday, Lincoln said though the number of skilled healthcare providers for maternal and newborn care services is increasing, utilization of the skilled services remains unacceptable below targets due to several factors.
Madam Lincoln noted that the current public health workers statistics of Liberia stands at 1,128 certified and 283 registered midwives, 4,871 registered nurses, 52 registered nurse-midwives, 219 licensed practical nurses and 91 mental health clinicians assigned across the country.
She noted that poor customer service ranks high among other factors contributing to low utilization of skilled healthcare services, and called for prompt action by all stakeholders to address the situation.
Speaking on the theme “Qualities of an efficient care provider”, the UNFPA specialist noted that delivery of the finest quality of healthcare services for mothers and their children is being grossly weakened by some healthcare workers who are not committed to the profession.
Madam Lincoln, however, admonished the graduates to seriously take into account the core principles of the medical profession as they go about the discharge of their duties.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of the Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing, Rev. Victor Padmore hailed government for its continued support to the Hospital and the Para-medical program.
Padmore said despite the current financial challenge facing the Phebe Para-Medical Program, the administration remains committed to assisting government in building a more efficient workforce for the health sector.
He pleaded with the graduates to always exhibit high level of professionalism to further built the confidence of the public in the health sector.
About eight persons graduated in various medical programs, including Professional Nursing, Midwifery and Nurse Anaesthesia.