Why Do We Work in Liberia?
Over the last decade, Liberia has struggled to increase its poor maternal health outcomes – maternal mortality is high, skilled attendance at birth is low, and early childbearing remains common. The 2014 Ebola outbreak has only further devastated an already struggling health infrastructure. Overwhelmed systems and widespread panic have posed barriers to essential health care, including maternal health services. Lack of essential supplies, illness among health care providers, and fear of infection among staff have all contributed to the widespread closure of health facilities. As a result there has been a sharp increase in pregnant women without access to emergency obstetric care or a health facility in which to give birth. Thus, we have good reason to anticipate a growing number of new cases of obstetric fistula in Liberia.
These new patients, as well as the backlog of existing fistula cases, are in urgent need of regular health services again and access to fistula care.
What You Help Us Do In Liberia
We’re helping fund:
- Fistula surgeries
- Fistula surgery training
- Community outreach
Family Medical Center, Monrovia
Phebe Hospital, Bong County
How much funding have we granted?
$266,100 in FY2015
Who’s our partner?
We provide grant support to these hospitals through Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA).
How will this help women in Liberia?
Family Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, provides basic fistula care services with up to six beds available for fistula patients. However, the Ebola crisis temporarily halted all fistula activities at the hospital. Liberia has since been declared Ebola-free several times by the World Health Organization; however, each time new cases of Ebola emerged, presenting an ongoing challenge. This project was designed to help the fistula unit get back on its feet and pave the way for the availability of continued fistula care in Liberia.
Despite a slow start amid significant challenges, WAHA reported that they were able to treat over 100 women in 2016 and expect to exceed their goal of completing 150 surgeries over the course of this project. Initially partnering with Family Medical Center in Monrovia, WAHA has expanded to include a second treatment site, Phebe Hospital, located in central Liberia. As a result, they’ve been able to reach many more women in need of treatment. In addition to supporting surgeries, funding from Fistula Foundation provides patient outreach and education, valuable on-the job training for local fistula care teams, transportation for patients to and from the hospital, and psychological counseling, nutritional support, and life-skills training for recovering patients.
Where is Liberia?
Facts About Liberia
- Average births per woman:4.6
- Physicians per 10,000 people:0.1
- Births attended by skilled personnel:46.3%
- Lifetime risk of maternal death:1 in 28(chances a woman will die during childbirth)
- Female life expectancy:60.8 years
- Female literacy:32.8%
- Population living in rural areas:51.3%
- Population living in poverty:63.8%(less than $1.25/day)
- Surgeries completed through Fistula Foundation funding to date:112
Sources: CIA World Factbook; WHO; World Bank