The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH/SW and partners, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Maternal Child Health and Integrated Program (MCHIP) recently celebrated the newly created County Contraceptive Day in Brewerville Township, outside Monrovia. It was hosted in Sanniquellie, the political capital of Nimba County by the Family Health Division at the MOH/SW.
Bong and Grand Bassa counties are two of other counties that earlier this year celebrated the County’s Contraceptive Day for the first time in the country.
The director of Family Health Division at the MOH/SW, Dr. Cauliau Jabbeh-Howe told reporters that the idea to observe the County Contraceptive Day was born out of the World Contraceptive Day (WCD), which is observed on September 26 every year with the aim to prevent unwanted pregnancy among teenagers.
According to Dr. Jabbeh-Howe, the day is being observed on the national theme: “Baby by Choice-Not baby by Chance.”
She said, the theme is in support of the universal theme of 2011, “Your Right-your right to accurate (evidence based) and balanced (unbiased) information.”
Other partners collaborating with MOH/SW to support the contraceptive program include Rebuilding Basic Health Service, (RBHS, Maternal Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and UNPA with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In her statistical analysis, Dr. Jabbeh-Howe disclosed among other things that contraceptive uptake remains a challenge in the country’s health delivery system.
To date, she said, the contraceptive prevalence in the country is 11% with an unmet need of 36%. Subsequently, this lack of access to contraceptive services has translated into a high maternal mortality rate of 994/100,000 and teen pregnancy rate of 68% among girls between the ages of 14 and 18 old respectively.
In an effort to increase access to contraceptive services, Liberia joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Contraceptive Day (WCD) in 2011. The WCD is a worldwide campaign with a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Its mission is to improve awareness of contraception to enable the youth make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health. WCD was launched in 2007 and is held on September 26 each year and first celebrated in Liberia in 2011.
Owing to the overwhelming success of the WCD in 2011, stakeholders have determined that the campaign is a good forum for increasing contraception among the Liberian youth and have elected to celebrate the campaign twice a year.
Considering that WCD aims to decrease barriers to information that promote responsible decision making regarding teen pregnancy prevention services, and in view of the high teenage pregnancy rate in the country, the planning committee meantime invited students from across the township to witness and be part of the occasion.