Phebe Hospital, School of Midwifery Praise Swedish Government and UNFPA for Continued Support – FrontPageAfrica
GBARNGA, Bong County – Trustees of Phebe Hospital and Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery praised the Swedish government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for their continued support to the institutions.
They extended congratulations to a high-level delegation currently visiting Margibi, Bong and Nimba counties.
The Government of Sweden, through UNFPA and other partners, including the Government of Liberia, is funding several projects in the health and education sectors as well as programs focused on promoting the rule of law and gender equality, among others in Liberia.
The team includes the Deputy Chief of Mission and Head of the Swedish Development Corporation at the Swedish Embassy Johan Romare, the new UNFPA Country Representative, Ms Bidisha Pillai and the Deputy Minister of Health for Curative Services, Dr. Gorbee Logan. Others include officials from the British Embassy and the Department of Gender, Children and Social Care.
The team conducts a joint field visit to sponsored project sites in the three counties to obtain first-hand accounts from beneficiaries on project impacts, challenges that impede their full utilization or implementation, and recommendations.
During a stopover in Gbarnga, Bong County, on Monday August 29, the team met with hospital administration and students from the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery. They also toured and toured Phebe Hospital, the largest referral hospital in the county.
Phebe Hospital medical director Dr Jefferson Sibley told delegates during an indoor program that thanks to the joint support of Swedes and implementing partners, including the government, many improvements have been made. made to the hospital’s fistula program. He said out of 26 patients, 24 were treated with surgeries conducted by an international volunteer surgeon.
He called for support for the program to assign a resident fistula surgeon to treat patients regularly instead of waiting for surgeons who occasionally come from abroad.
He called for the budget for the fistula repair program to be increased to cover transportation for fistula survivors returning to their communities.
Also speaking, Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery Director Humphrey Loweah said the Phebe Paramedic Training Program has achieved a lot from partners since they started supporting in 2019. Mr. Loweal named the expansion and completion of the Skills Lab and Library as a major turning point for the school.
Loweal noted that since their intervention in 2019, enrollments and degrees have increased. “UNFPA has really been helpful to Phebe School of Nursing since 2019,” he said. “Before the support, the school had never graduated more than five students, but right now we have more graduates and as I speak, very soon we will have around 14 people graduating from the school.”
He told the delegation that in the past six semesters there have been no dropouts and the school has moved from awarding degrees to graduating. For the first time, midwives will graduate, thanks to support from the Ministry of Health, the Swedish government and UNFPA, he said.
He then appealed for increased funding for the Phebe training program to continue to train and produce quality healthcare workers, increased support for school supplies based on enrollment.
Also, the administrator called for full support for Phebe, especially the anesthesia program to meet the academic requirements since Phebe is the only anesthesia school in the country. He also wants support to be extended to other programs, including professional nursing and medical laboratory technology, as health care providers, including nurses, midwives, anesthesiologists and technicians laboratories, are all partners in the delivery of health care.
The students also joined the school administrator in thanking the donors for their support. Robert Korquoi from the Department of Anesthesia and Yah N. Kpawolo from the Midwifery Section, in separate remarks, called on donors to provide transportation for their clinical activities and membership, especially for students from hard-to-reach areas including Lofa, Nimba and the south-eastern region.
With 1,072 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, Liberia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, according to UNICEF. The mortality rate for newborns during the first 28 days of life is also high: 37 per 1,000 live births.
Speaking briefly, Dr Logan said that with these statistics there was a need to continue supporting the Phebe School of Nursing and Midwifery to train more midwives and paramedics, account given the acute shortage of manpower in the health system.
The Deputy Minister of Curative Services noted that the support to the school was timely and ideal as it is the training center for nurses and midwives in Liberia. On behalf of the Ministry of Health and the Liberian government by extension, he thanked the Swedish government through UNFPA for the meaningful interventions.
UNFPA Country Representative, Ms. Pillai, commended Phebe Hospital and Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery for helping UNFPA make progress towards its goal. She said work in institutions has a direct impact on ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe.
Deputy Chief of Mission and Head of the Swedish Development Corporation at the Swedish Embassy in Liberia, Johan Romare, thanked the Phebe Hospital and Paramedic School – administrators and students for the warm welcome and for informing them events of their institutions. He assured them of the continued support of the Swedish government, adding that the team was on the ground to see and listen in order to make informed decisions.
hope for prisonrs
The delegation also visited Gbarnga Central Prison and spoke with the prison warden and inmates, including convicted and remand prisoners who benefit from the adult skills and literacy program funded by the Swedish government through through UNFPA.
Through the program, inmates learned basic skills, including sewing, soap making, and other arts and crafts; while most juvenile detainees benefit from the adult literacy programme.
Acting Superintendent of Gbarnga Central Prison, Richard Mulbah, said beneficiaries are selected based on the seriousness of the crimes they have committed, their commitments and their cooperation. He said that since the start of the training, 40 inmates have graduated and of these, five have reintegrated.
He added that to sustain the program, plans are being made to sell the products produced by the beneficiaries in local markets to use the funds generated to keep the program running.
He called for the certification of detainees who graduated from the training by sponsors and the government of Liberia to show as proof when seeking employment opportunities after their reintegration into their communities. He called for continued support for the program to help fight crimes.
“I think this program is very good because it will help them when they get out of prison. That’s the only way to minimize crime in the county because when they’re released and they have something to do, obviously they won’t want to engage in bad things,” Mulbah said.
The visit continues to several project sites in Bong and Nimba counties.