Liberia: Bong County Villagers Walk 100km to Seek Medical Care

Gbarngasiaquelleh’s paramount chief, Moses Garlaklama

Gbarngasiaquelleh, Panta District, Bong County – Residents of Gbarngasiaquelleh, a village of 3,000 residents in Panta District, Bong County, have said that they lose an average of one pregnant woman monthly due to absence of antenatal services.

Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]

The residents said in separate interviews with FrontPageAfrica that they also lose a lot of children under five due to absence of healthcare services.

The residents told our reporter that they also lose a lot of children under five due to absence of healthcare services.

A housewife, Quita Kollie, said: “Women don’t attend or visit hospitals for checkup during pregnancy or delivery.

“I don’t go for treatment during my pregnancies because of the distance between our village and the nearest place to get hospital services which is Garmue or Jorwah and it’s about two or three hours from here.’’

She also said that the village has no good road to allow for smooth ride on motorcycles for women in labor.

“For us to access health care we have to use motorcycles so women here deliver at home with the help of traditional midwives.

“We do not have good road here and one cannot easily get cars or motorcycles. Sometimes we walk, and when a woman is in labor in the night it becomes more difficult to even think going to hospital.

“Two pregnant women have died this year from labor problems,’’ the woman said. Another housewife, Annieta Kollie, said, “anytime I am pregnant, it comes with fever and since there is no hospital close by, I prefer to stay at home and take local herbs as it is our culture.

“I know two women close to me that lost their lives in the process of child birth here in the village. We prefer to use traditional midwives because that’s the only option we have here in the town.’’

Patience Bedell, another resident, said she goes for antenatal but not frequently, because of the distance and poor transport service.

The woman said she patronizes a local patent medicine store whenever she falls ill.

Another woman, Theresa Benson, said five of her relatives have experienced complications during childbirth.

“I give birth at home because my mom is a traditional birth midwife and the culture here is when it is time for you to give birth you go to your parents’ house and not your husband house.’’

However, another woman identified as NaeGorma, who shared her experience, said she once attended antenatal services and was asked to go for scanning in Gbarnga and had to spend a lot of money on that.

“Accessing health care services here is very difficult for us, because some of us also feel lazy when you think of walking to Garmue or Jorwah to access health services.’’

A 60-year-old woman, Rebecca Gorwue, noted that women suffer a lot during childbirth in the town in addition to huge expenses incurred in the process.

A husband, Plaka Paydoe, said the ordeals women go through in the village during childbirth were regrettable. “I remember the day I took my wife to hospital during childbirth and before reaching there she lost her life.

“These are some of the ordeals our women go through. She really suffered on that day before she and the baby died. “So we are very happy to see you in this community because we have never seen journalists face to face but here you are in our community,’’ Paydoe said.

Also speaking, Gbarngasiaquelleh’s paramount chief, Moses Garlaklama, expressed concern that they had never received any government official since this year.

“We hope your visit will bring development to this community. On the issue of health or pregnant women, honestly our women do suffer a lot during childbirth, in fact, anytime our women get pregnant, we never have rest of mind until they deliver their babies safely.

“You have seen that yourself, there is no clinic and other social amenities here in the town, and this village has been in existence for over 20 years. We are only living here on the mercy of God,’’ he said.