-As They Visit Counties To Assess Gains And Challenges
In the quest to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the country, the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the Family Health Division (FHD) and the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) along with the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded a six (6) days engagement mission with county health authority to assess gains and challenges in the health system before and during the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19.
The joint MOH/WHO assessment engagement on Maternal Newborn Deaths and Sexual Reproduction (MNDSR) started 7-31 July 2020 in Grand Bassa, River Cess and Grand Cape Mount counties with main focus on immunization, maternal mortality and adolescent health.
Madam Bentoe Zoogley Tehoungue, Director of the Family Health Division MOH and lead person on the mission to the counties said, with the many challenges in the country’s health sector, there is a need to always carry out such an excise most especially in the areas of immunization and maternal, neonatal and adolescent health to inform the decision of national government and partners as to what is happening in the health sector at the County level and the necessary intervention that is needed.
According to Madam Tehougue, as part of Family Health Division task to make sure that women, children and adolescents are given quality health services in the country with support from partners, the need for the mission to assess the gains and challenges in MNDSR per county cannot be over emphasized.
She disclosed that in time past FHD and partners has been working with various county health teams to ensure that each county have maternal waiting home where pregnant women can be taken seven days to delivery to avoid delay that can sometimes lead to maternal and neonatal death and also youth centers for adolescent especially girls for the collection of contraceptives to avoid teenage pregnancy.
Madam Tehougue averred that her division has also been collaborating with county health teams across the country to review maternal and newborn death which she said adolescents’ are significant contributors.
She admonished the presence of community members in the meetings noting that studies have shown that adolescence accessing health facility for contraceptives for the prevention of teenage pregnancy are hindered by the parents.
According to her those decisions by the parents have over the time had serious negative impact on young girls who are being stopped from taking contraceptives, but still have sex and doing abortions, adding that many of them die and some are left with damage ultras and some with critical health problems for life.
During the meetings, the counties health officials and other stakeholders said the engagement is a laudable one and that it will help health authorities in the counties to correct their weaknesses and be able to meet up to those health needs of the people in time.
As the discussions went on and presentations been made, it was said by various county health authority that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country the immunization aspect of the routine health services has not been carry out due to fear of people visiting health facilities and falsehood of spending the virus through vaccines and other injectable by health workers thereby suspending the routine immunization outreach.
Dr. Musu Duawgo WHO representative on the mission during the meetings told attendees that health is not just the Ministry of Health, but a multi-sectorial issue and involves the contribution of all.
According to Dr. Duawgo, part of the mission is to know what sector is involved in the healthcare delivery at the counties level and their role in mitigating the challenges most especially in the areas of Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescence Health (RMNCAH) and nutrition during COVID-19.
Dr. Duawgoaslo said the team also assessed the coordination between those sectors and the county health teams in providing quality healthcare to the people, something she said is existing, but needs to be strengthen.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Family Health Division (FHD) Madam BentoeZoegleyTehoungue applauds each county for welcoming the team for such mission and assured them that everything that has been discussed will be put forth before national stakeholders and partners for the necessary interventions.
In the meantime, she encouraged Doctors and nurses who have sacrificed to go in the counties and provide healthcare to continue doing what they have being called and observed every protocol during these time of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19.