Two Liberian civil society organizations ScalingUp Nutrition(SUN) Civil society Alliance of Liberia (SUNCSAL) and Partnership for Sustainable Development (PASD) in partnership with Save the Children International lobby with the Liberian Senate for increased health sector financing and influencing allocation of specific budget line support to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH).
The move is part of the Global Strategy and Goal of ending preventable maternal mortality, while ensuring implementation of universal health coverage policies in line with Sustainable Development Goals 3.8
Addressing the Civil Society Legislative engagement forum for health budget to MNCH in the Senate annex conference room on Thursday, Madam Jennet Paye, called on the Senate to address inequalities in access and quality of reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care services in the country.
She also encouraged senators to ensure implementation of universal health coverage policies for comprehensive reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care in Liberia, adding that all causes of maternal mortality including reproductive and maternal morbidities and other related disabilities are addressed.
Jennet admonished the Senate to guarantee that the health systems collect high quality data to ensure needs and priorities of women and girls are strengthened in terms of accountability in order to improve quality of care and equity.
She disclosed that not less than four women died from pregnancy related causes each day while every day, approximately 830women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and child birth, noting that 99percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
Referencing the Abuja declaration, she recalled in April 2001, Heads of States of African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to improving the health sector.
She noted that since then, 27 countries so far have increased the proportion of total government expenditures allocated to health, only Rewanda and South Africa have achieved the Abuja declaration target of “at least 15 percent.”
She disclosed that up to date, Liberia is yet to implement the declaration evidenced by previous budgets allotments to the health sector.
Madam Paye points that in 2016/17 national budget 9 percent (US$600,204,076m) was allotted for the health sector followed by 2017/18 budget US$526,548,333m or 13.8 percent was allotted for health while in 2018/2019 about 14.3 percent or US$570,148,000m went to MNCH.
Meanwhile, Grand Kru County Senator Peter Colman, Senator Mathew Jaye of Grand Gedeh County, Senator A. Marshall Dennis, Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh and Rivercess County Senator Dallas Advertus Gweh lauded the civil society organizations’ support to MNCH and promised to work with them to ensure Liberia’s health sector is improved.