Community Health Care Initiative Brings Mobile Sexual Reproductive Healthcare -Montserrado, Margibi Women to Benefit
By Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Community Health Care Initiative has launched a mobile health care Initiative in Montserrado County aimed at providing sexual health and rights education, awareness and counselling, and as well addressing the issue of teen-age pregnancy in ten communities in Montserrado and Margibi counties.
Giving the overview of the ceremony in the suburb of Congo Town Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the Executive Director of Community Health Initiative, Naomi Solanke, said the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Clinic on Wheels will benefit seven communities in Montserrado County and three communities in Margibi County, by addressing teen-age pregnancy and providing sex education and awareness for women and young people.
“A journey begins with a step and this is our first step. We are going to work toward achieving adequate quality access to sexual reproductive health and rights in Liberia”, the CHI Executive Director said.
She said the Community Health Initiative is currently working in Montserrado County and Margibi County where existing projects are already ongoing.
Solanke explained that women are not free to express themselves especially when it comes to menstruation. Community Health Initiative, Madam Solanke said, will take its services to the doors of beneficiaries in the two counties, adding, “the bus is going to be used to ensure that beneficiaries have access to sexual reproductive products. The Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights on Wheels will be for young people.”
According to Solanke, Montserrado County accounts for one third of maternal death in Liberia. She furthered that abortion is a rights issue, because if there is no safe place for abortion women and girls who want to abort will seek ‘black bag doctors’ who are not trained professionals and do not have the legal backing to administer abortion, which according to her is creating lot of complications for their victims.
“If women cannot safely and legally have abortion for pregnancy they do not want, then we are encouraging them to follow black bags doctors who are not trained professionals, which is causing lot of problems for most young girls,” she asserted.
She revealed that the Community Health Care Initiative is partnering with the Ministry of Health through the Montserrado County Health Team to help CHI works factor into government health facilities. She added that CHI will lobby with the Liberian Legislature to ensure that abortion becomes non-crime.
Serving as key launcher of the SRHR on Wheels, Montserrado County Health Officer, Dr. Yatta Wahpoe, said the issue of health and rights is a basic human right that the CHI can address, saying: “We believe that this health initiative will help us reduce the maternal mortality rate in Liberia. We are going to have all the different linkages in the community that you can refer cases to where they can be treated.”
She said maternal health is the right of every woman, adding that the number of women that survive during and after childbirth will indicate whether the health sector is improving or not. She encouraged all stakeholders in the health sector to support CHI initiative.
In remarks, the Ministry of Health Family Health Division Representative, Mrs. Suena Sambola-Flomo, said CHI is going to address hygiene and contribute to improve the health sector of Liberia by addressing health issues including teen-age pregnancy which is contributing to child mortality.
“With all the coordination with the County Health Team, the Ministry of Health will give CHI all the support, including logistics and guidance to ensure that the initiative is implemented successfully,” Mrs. Sambola-Flomo assured.
The ceremony was attended by the Ministry of Health, Oxfam Liberia, National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, Plan Liberia, OSIWA, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, among others.