Residents of Koinadugu district have become the proud beneficiaries of a new maternity ward thanks to the UN children’s fund, UNICEF. The ward has fifty beds and two labour rooms equipped to make a pregnant woman smile in labour and a newly-born baby happy to scream in health and happiness.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Geert Capelaere said the country’s largest district had been the most “under-served” in terms of infant and maternal health care; hence has the highest infant and maternal morbidity rates in the country.
Mr Capelaere blamed these morbidity rates on early marriages and teenage pregnancy, and sought to dissuade the community from marrying off their daughters at an early age.
The Unicef country rep hoped the services the new facility would offer would help cut down on the pale data coming out of the district and called on the government to continue placing child survival at the top of its agenda, while he called on the Minister of health to provide more maternity wards in all districts.
Minister of Health, Dr Soccoh Kabia who opened the facility assured of government’s committment to change the grim statistics the country’s women and children are faced with. He emphasized that women should also control their birthrate so as to minimise the death rates in labour-related cases. The matron of the Kabala Government hospital, Isatu Kamara said the project started in June 2004 when a team of Germans visited the area and discovered that there were only three beds and a single labour ward to service the whole district. They promised to help improve the situation. Mrs Kamara said that in December 2005 through the facilitation of UNICEF, construction work started. She however appealed for more reproductive health care kits, doctors and trained nurses for the hospital. She also appealed to the Health Minister to look into the emoluments of volunteer nurses already working in the maternity wards and that a training school for nurses be established in the district.