A United Kingdom (UK) based Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, working with the Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Dr. Matt Prior, has asserted that pregnant women in Liberia have a 25% chance of dying at child birth. Dr Prior, while recently visiting Liberia averred that pregnant women in the country had a 25 per cent chance of dying in childbirth, adding that: “There is one doctor for every 4,000 people, whereas here [UK] we have one doctor for every 50 patients.”
The UK-based medical doctor, whose visit here afforded him the opportunity to discover how medical treatments given children in Africa differ with western practices, stated: “I spent a week looking at the heath care system in Liberia and saw lots of quite shocking things to begin with.”
“They have a malnutrition ward where there are children with preventable illnesses like chest infections and diarrhea because they are so malnourished. The hospitals have medication and clean water to treat them, but actually a lot of underlying problems are that parents don’t know what to feed their children, or they cannot afford to,” said Dr. Prior. In Liberia, he pointed out, one out of 10 children would not reach the age of 10, adding: “If it wasn’t for the money brought into Liberia because of charities like Save the Children, a lot of children definitely would have died.
The UK-based doctor’s visit, which was a part of a Save The Children projects monitoring trip, indicated that: “If people in developed countries like ours continue to support those in severe poverty, we can help move them from being an under-developed country to a middle-income country by 2030.”
Dr. Prior was one of six British health workers who visited Liberia to see what life was like for their African colleagues; meet doctors, nurses and midwives doing everything they could to save children’s lives here. The Save The Children man and the rest of his team saw shortages of water, electricity and basic medicine and realized the struggles Liberian health workers are faced with and became inspired to campaign for Save the Children.
Said Prior: “It was certainly an eye opening experience. In the UK we take the NHS for grant-ed. We can expect to see a doc-tor whenever we fall sick. Not only is the whole process pretty simple, it is free at the point of use from top to bottom of society.
“Liberia is still finding its feet after decades of civil war that ripped the nation’s infrastructure apart. I expected to see an army of foreigners providing services that were well-intentioned but unsustainable but that weren’t the case,” he added.
However Dr. Prior averred: “Listening to the critics of aid, I assumed surely a significant amount of aid money was lost to corruption finding its way into the Swiss bank accounts of a minority of Liberians.
“I was worried the result would be a chaos of inefficiency and duplication with little getting through to where it was most needed but what I saw on the ground surprised me: help was getting through. “Clinics providing services: doctors vaccinating children; nurses treating tropical infections like malaria; midwives delivering babies. Perhaps more importantly the clinics had attracted and trained local people as community health volunteers to go out to villages with public health messages.”