Gbarpolu County – It was an interesting gathering for locals and health workers at the only public clinic in Gbarngay Town, Gbarpolu County.
The Gbarngay Town clinic in Bokomu district delivers health services to over 12,300 catchment population, but on this occasion, it hosted the county’s quarterly health review meeting.
The event reviewed health care activities of the county between July and September 2016, and was conducted by the Gbarpolu County Health System on December 17.
Over 35 health workers, partners and local authorities attended the meeting.
The participants included representatives of health facilities, the county health team, five district health officers, five surveillance officers, partners and local authorities of Bokomu district.
“This meeting is all about bringing our health facility staffs together, especially our OICs because we want to see what they have done in their facility for the period,” said County Health Officer (CHO), Dr. Anthony Tucker.
Dr. Tucker said the activity was part of the County health team’s delivery system which help all parties understand the current state of health programs, identify gaps, share success stories from clinicians and development strategies to improve the service delivery system.
Following the overview, clinicians or OICs presented on behalf of their individual health facility. In all their presentations, the OICs highlighted success stories, challenges and recommendations.
The OIC of Gbarngay Clinic, Joshua Toweh, said community dwellers usually help them clean around the health facility and also they attend all meetings meant to create and promote healthy life messages to the community.
Conducted by certified midwives, vaccinators and OICs, the outreach basically helps increase the health services delivery by promoting vaccination campaigns, health messages and also take health services to the door steps of locals in hard-to-reach areas in the county.
From all the 15 health facilities presentations, 126 outreaches were conducted which help increased the county health team’s target. The immunization report showed that 798 to 929 children under the age one were vaccinated during the quarter.
Good Signal for Maternal Health
Birth delivery target was never met, according to the data management stats presented by Clarence Kollie, but the good news according to Kollie, there was no death during the period. Kollie projected that 531 was set as target, but 403 were achieved.
This means, from July to September this year, 403 pregnant women gave birth successfully at health facilities in Gbarpolu County, something he described as a “good sign for maternal health of women in Gbarpolu”.
For the constraints, some OICs complained about the lack of cell phone network in their area of assignment.
Massa Massaquoi, OIC of Kungbor Clinic said “Lack of network is our usual major problem”. According to the clinician, as the result of this specimens that are collected cannot be delivered some time.
Nearly all the OICs expressed concerns over the continual delay of logistical supplies for the holding of outreach programs in the county.
“I did not receive gasoline for outreach so I was able to do seven outreaches at my own expenses,” complained Anthony Tamba, OIC of Kondensu Clinic in Belle district.
Massaquoi also suggested: “I think the number of outreach activities should be increased from the basis of what we have achieved this quarter”.
Nearly all the clinicians recommended the timely supply of medical and non-medical materials to enable them carry out effective and efficient work at their various facilities.
In response to the clinicians’ presentations, the CHO of Gbarpolu said the meeting prioritizes “Knowing the status of health services in the county to ensure urgent intervention for people in the county”.
Dr. Tucker thanked the health workers and encouraged them to keep providing health services. He urged the logistical and pharmacy departments of the county health team to respond timely to the requisitions from district officers and OICs.
Communities Excited by Meeting’s Outcome
Community members have hailed the meeting and termed it as the county health team’s surprise Christmas gift.
Peter Sumo, a resident of the Gbarngay Town said: “This is the first time to see our big doctors them (doctors) come to this clinic”. Sumo believes the visit of the health workers will help the staff at the clinic improve services rendered to them.
Mr. Sumo noted: “I think this kind of meeting will make us too, as citizens, know our rights and wrongs and even our health workers too”.
Also, Yassah Tokpa, a female resident of the Gbarngay catchment communities, said the county health team meeting at their clinic serves as a motivation for the community to take ownership of the clinic and seek medical advice always.
“This tell us that our health workers here are working good (well), and we need to be respecting them and be coming to this clinic when we are sick for medicine,” Yassah said.
Many residents are happy with the decentralized health implementation activities in the county.
Otis Tokpa, a motorcyclist from Gbalakpalamu town, who also attended the meeting, said the meeting was fruitful giving that clinicians were able to voice out their concerns.
He said the event placed the county health authority under pressure to respond timely to some of the challenges.
“This will help all of us,” Tokpa said, continuing, “This health issue is everybody business”.
The next health quarterly review meeting will be hosted by Yangayah health facility located in Gbarma health district.
Editor’s Note: This story was previously published by FrontPage Africa Newspaper in collaboration with Local Voices Liberia, a network of Liberian reporters in the 15 counties working to report under-reported stories in their respective counties.
Reporting by: Henry Gboluma, Gbarpolu County