Liberia: Man Drowns While Crossing River with Pregnant Wife to Nearest Health Facility


Barkedu, Lofa County – Zubah Kezzelee, 38, met his untimely death when he embarked on an adventure to provide quality care for his pregnant wife who had been grabbed by labor pain.

It was during the early nightly hours of December 1, 2018, when the deceased embarked on the journey with his wife who was in her finishing stage of pregnancy.

The couple lived in Goyala and was en route to Barkedu, where the only health facility is located in a region of over 15 towns and approximately 13,800 inhabitants.
After trekking for over 2 hours in the dark with his screaming pregnant wife, the deceased was aided and escorted by few relatives and residents of the town.

Amongst them was a trained traditional midwife (TTM) identified only as Ma Sonnie.

By 10 pm, they had arrived at Lofa River, a major water body that forms the boundary between Goyala and Barkedu towns.

Crossing the river was a herculean task. Unfortunately, they discovered that the only canoe commuters use to travel across the two banks of the river was docked across the other side of the river – the Barkedu side.

After several fruitless calls for help from the other end of the river, deceased Kezelee, who was very determined to see his wife have a safe delivery, decided to swim across the river for the canoe.

Kezelee turned down a suggestion from the TTM, who had offered to deliver his wife by the riverside. He then begun swimming to the other side of the river to fetch the canoe when he got drown.

Following the death of Kezelee, Barkedu township commissioner told a FrontPageAfrica correspondent in the county that upon receiving the “unfortunate information”, he mobilized men of the town to help the pregnant woman crossed the river and taken to Barkedu Clinic where she later safely gave birth to a baby boy.

Hon. Sumawolo Kanteh said he immediately contacted the Crimes Services Division (CSD) of the Liberia National Police that sent investigators on the scene.

On Monday, December 3, 2018 the lifeless body of Kezzelee was discovered along the riverbank.

“I was on my way going again to the police station, when I was called and informed that the divers who were searching for the body had found it,” the commissioner said.

“That’s how we sent for the police who came and examined the body and said there was no foul played. We then requested the body and that’s how he was finally laid to rest”.

Hon. Kanteh told reporters that the incident was the third in a series of drowning incidents in the Lofa River.

There are several residents engaged with farming across the river.