New life, new hope?
How incredible. I arrived at Fefeh Town health clinic, about a two hour drive from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, to be told by the head of the clinic that he’d just delivered a healthy baby boy. After hearing so many sad stories of loss over the last few days it was fantastic to witness a new life and the hope that comes with it.
Just two hours after Juso’s birth his mother left the clinic to take him back home, a simple hut made from sticks and mud. There, his father saw his newborn son for the first time.
As I left Juso’s home I heard singing coming from close by. I went to see what was going on and found a group of women singing and dancing – dressed in their best clothes. They were traditional midwives and were celebrating the successful birth of Juso and the launch of our EVERY ONE campaign.
Back in the clinic a seemingly endless flow of women carrying their small babies were arriving to get vaccinations and treatment. Many of the babies brought to the clinic were just days or weeks old. It was a sobering thought, looking at all of these innocent lives knowing that only one in nine of them would make it to their fifth birthday.
Although Liberia is making progress to reduce it’s child mortality rate – 25,000 more children now survive to their fifth birthdays compared to a few years ago – the newborn mortality rate remains static. In fact, Liberia has the worst newborn death rate in the world.