WASHINGTON (April 18, 2013) — The Japanese government and Africare/Liberia signed a grant agreement on March 12, 2013, for the construction and full furnishing, including generators to supply electricity, of two maternal waiting homes (MWHs) in the Haindii and Fenutole localities of Bong County in Liberia. The grant is valued at more than $112,000.
The signing ceremony was held at the Japan International Cooperation Agency office in Monrovia with His Excellency Mr. Naoto Nikai, Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, signing on behalf of his government, and Mr. Ernest Kromah Gaie, Africare’s Country Director, signing for Africare.
The grant will support Africare’s efforts in assisting the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to achieve its national Road Map for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Morbidity and Mortality in Liberia. Most recent data placed Liberia’s maternal mortality rate at 990 deaths per 100,000 live births and the infant mortality rate at 58 per 1,000 live births, compared to 13 and six respectively in the United States. The maternal waiting homes address challenges expectant mothers face in accessing health facilities and skilled birth attendants. Many women cite distances to the health facilities and their lack of safe accommodation as major barriers preventing them from giving birth in health facilities with skilled birth attendants.
As part of a four year USAID-funded maternal and child health project, Africare, in partnership with the University of Michigan and with funding from private donors, has constructed six MWHs in Bong County. The waiting homes are located next to primary health care facilities and provide expectant mothers a place to stay and be closely monitored by medical staff for more than two weeks before giving birth. Already, utilization statistics from four of the MWHs constructed in 2011 and 2012 show a significant increase in facility-based deliveries. Because the MWHs are also community driven, Africare is receiving significant requests from communities where there are health facilities to construct MWHs, with communities taking the initiative to mobilize local resources.
Africare is excited about this diversified partnership and looks forward to successfully completing this project with quality and efficiency. We look forward to expanding this new partnership in Liberia and in other countries where both Africare and Japan have common interests in providing for health, agricultural, educational and other needs.
With six bedrooms, a large porch, certified midwife accommodation and modern washrooms, furnished with beds, tables and an external kitchen, a MWH costs approximately US$30,000.00. You can make a donation to support the construction or furnishing of a maternal waiting home and save the lives of mothers and their newborns as the mother stays in the MWH and can access a health facility with skilled birth attendants.
To speak to Africare’s specialists about water and sanitation projects in Africa, please contact Nicole S. Miles at 202-328-5320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.