Accessible health care remains a challenge, particularly for those living in the rural areas. According a report released by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on the Human Rights Situation in Liberia covering January-June 2009 a fortnight ago, many towns do not have health facilities, with the nearest such facility typically being many hours away, with journeys being made on foot in most cases, or in a wheelbarrow if the patient is critically ill.
This situation, the report stated, is compounded further by the lack of vehicle transportation and poor road infrastructure.
The report said that in those towns and communities fortunate enough to have a health facility or clinic, it was observed that the standard of health care was low, as most clinics or hospitals are understaffed, lack qualified medical practitioners, essential medical equipment and drugs.
“With a catchment area of about 5,404 people from as far as Forpoh, Buah, Jloh, Picnicess, Bollo po towns, Saatown Health Center in Grand Kru County has only 4 beds for in-patients,” the report revealed.
The report further revealed that the Health Centre has a laboratory, which can only carry out malaria tests, with a test-kit, as there is no microspore.
“Due to the lack of medical facilities, preventable deaths have been common. An example is the extremely high maternal mortality rate in Liberia, which stands at 994 deaths per 100,000 live births,” the reported noted.
Meanwhile, the report added that access to private medical health facilities where they exist, is not a viable option for most of the population, due to low incomes.