Monrovia – The Anti-AIDS Media Network (AAMIN) in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) has scaled up programs for journalists in three of Liberia’s 15 counties to create demand for community utilization of the Prevention of HIV Transmission from Mother-to-Child (PMTCT) and Antenatal Care (ANC).
The PMTCT services are being provided under the government of Liberia’s program called H6, with funding from Swedish government.
H6 services include the provision of some life-saving commodities like family planning, prevention and management of fistula; ensure comprehensive PMTCT service delivery as well as other maternal health interventions.
The joint effort of the government and development partners is meant to strengthen the delivery of quality right based health services, as well as increase demand, improve access to and utilization of maternal newborn health care services in three targeted counties including Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount in Western Liberia and River Cess in Southern Liberia.
Similar program was implemented up to the end of 2016 in Maryland, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties.
Considering the importance of the program and its impact on the Liberian Health Sector especially in the targeted counties and communities, the Anti-AIDS Media Network believes without the total involvement of the media, desired expectations may not be achievable.
To achieve this, AAMIN over the weekend provided to journalists material support and mini grant aim at strengthening the capacity journalists in those counties to monitor and increase report on the H6 program.
During the engagement, AAMIN and the community journalists agreed through a partnership agreement to use their existing media platforms to run radio programs that tend to audit knowledge of citizens on the H6 program intervention, and set in motion field trip activities for increasing reporting to help provide the public broader understanding of services being provided.
Necus Andrews, Executive Director of the Media network said the initiative is meant to contribute to the Government’s desire of accelerating the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths in the country.
Liberia’s current maternal death rate according to the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) stands at 700 per 100,000, while 1,072 per 100,000.
This means that out of every 100,000 women who went to deliver their babies in Liberia 700 can died in childbirth and out of every 100,000 children 1,072 can die.
Liberia accounts for the highest percent of maternal and infant deaths in the world.
Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.
Newborn death is a death during the first 28 days of life (0-27 days).
“We as journalists have the ability to help change the world around us, develop our countries and cities; counties and districts; and our beloved towns, villages and communities by means through our reportage either,” Mr. Andrews urged the journalists during the opening of the media monitoring training.
Necus said the media group anticipates to hear that the results of various reports of journalists in the three counties significantly helped to reduce death rate of pregnant mothers, as well as promote messages around the prevention of HIV transmission of mother-to-child transmission so that in the end, Liberia can be proud to have a Healthy Gbapolu, River Cess and Grand Cape Mount Counties.
Mr, Andrews: “I am of the strongest conviction that you will do your best to help educate your own people by telling in your report on the importance” Mr. Andrews maintained.