Monrovia, 17th September 2021 – Held under the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care” with a campaign to “act now for safe and respectful childbirth” the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and other partners on 17th September 2021 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 3rd World Patient Safety Day.
World Patient Safety Day is commemorated every year to raise awareness and advocate for the importance of quality healthcare including people-centered care and preventing harm to patients. This year’s theme is particularly important for Liberia as the country’s maternal and new-born mortality rates remain one of the highest in the world.
Delivering the keynote address at this year’s celebration, Mrs. Marion Subah, Last Mile Health Country Director in Liberia recollected an unfortunate situation according to her led to the death of a pregnant woman who had to walk from a community beyond 5 kilometers on four different dates for her Antenatal Care (ANC) visits because she was aware of its importance. “Our hearts are with pregnant women and mothers who live in communities beyond 5 kilometers to health facilities,” she said.
She called on leaders and stakeholders to enhance collaborations, as together they can achieve bigger things. “Leadership is inclusive and we are the catalysts if we have to act now to improve access to quality health services and for safe and respectful childbirth, “Mrs. Subah added.
Speaking on behalf of WHO Country Office in Liberia, Dr. Charles Ocan, Health Systems Advisor said many of the maternal and newborn deaths could be prevented by making sure patients feel safe, respected and that their needs are heard and acted upon, and by equipping the health workers with the knowledge, skills and tools to take life-saving actions.
Also delivering the message from Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Ocan said the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care” with a campaign to “act now for safe and respectful childbirth” is very relevant in the African Region, which accounts for nearly 7 out of 10 maternal deaths and 1 out of 3 newborn deaths globally. He said the major causes of death among pregnant women and mothers are postpartum haemorrhage, hypertensive diseases, and sepsis. Among newborns, the top causes of death include premature birth, babies not getting enough oxygen during birth, and infections. Dr. Ocan reaffirmed WHO’s commitment to support the Ministry of Health in implementing the WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030.
“Patient safety needs to be taken seriously as it concerns all of us,” Min. Joyce Sherman, Assistant Minister for Preventive Services, Ministry of Health Liberia. She thanked WHO and partners for their continued support and pledged the Ministry of Health commitment to implementing the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030.
Other speakers at the occasion included representatives from JHPIEGO, Last Mile Health, the Civil Society Organizations, maternal, males and adolescents voice, the Liberia Nursing and Midwifery Boards, among others. All called on the national Government and partners to act now for safe and respectful childbirth.
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