Liberia: Gender Minister Expresses Concern for Pregnant Women

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Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, has recently echoed that big belly business must not be overlooked in Liberia since it has the ability to cause harm to the population of women and girls across Liberia.

Speaking over the weekend at the launch of the big belly business book in Monrovia, Minister Cassell said, there is urgent need that government and citizens work in addressing problem faced by big belly people.

“Looking back at your work with the Ministry and agencies of government since 2013, we can say a lot has been done” said Minister Cassell.

She lauded the US Government for increase support towards the program aimed at targeting approximately 50 thousand families by 2017.

The Minister recognized effort of collaboration by NGO’s, naming it as an important tool to improving health delivery system that is already undergoing a reform. Minister Cassel further noted that the process will help government build a resilient health system in line with the Ministry of Health.

“We hope that this can start early before the gender base big belly program” the Minister cited.

She wants the Ministry of Education to integrate the big belly business program into some of its work plan.

“As I launch this program, let me remind all of us here that a high percentage of women do not know the good and bad as well as safety issues associated with pregnancies including options” Minister Cassell added.

The Gender, Social and Child Protection Minister challenged parents to participate in all medical care as a means of making informed choices about deliveries.

Cassell complained that women and girls hardly make informed choices in most medical situations relative to treatments and cares.

According to her, access to information is important to pregnant women and the big belly program serves as a guide.

“It should support a maternal care system that does not discriminate and recognizes that girls can safely give birth in hospitals, birth centers and homes”, said Minister Cassell.

Moreover, Cassell said, the program should be used as an advocacy tool to assist women and girls and also support them to live up with pregnancies since big belly business is everybody’s business.

For his part, the Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health Dr. Joseph Kerkula described the program as an innovation to prepare babies who are going through the nine-month stage and as well creating a way in helping to reduce maternal death across Liberia, thus improving the health of children and mothers in various communities.

“The book can help you explain this story to another pregnant mother, be it educated or not, in taking the necessary precaution to make sure the mother and baby are safe” Dr. Kerkula opined.

He expressed the need for pregnant women and mothers at various health centres to have access to the big belly business book since none of them should die while giving birth.

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