DFID – Liberia Maternal and Child Health Project

Improving Maternal and Child Health and Access to Safe Water and Sanitation Facilities
Location: River Gee County, Liberia

Background & Context

Liberia’s post-conflict health system has limited capacity to reach its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) objectives without external help. This is particularly evident in the South Eastern B border region where River Gee County is located.

Although previous cross-border migration fuelled by insecurity in Côte d’Ivoire is no longer an issue, remoteness, lack of infrastructure and a widely dispersed, uneducated rural population contribute to the region’s poverty. Health status, care-seeking practices, Household community health behaviours and WASH facilities all need improvement. One of the chief barriers to improving maternal child health and reducing poverty is the “last mile problem”: the logistical challenge and relatively high cost of reaching every rural household with health services and behaviour change messages.

River Gee has some of the worst indicators in Liberia for diarrhoea and access to safe water and sanitation. Only 53% of the population has access to an adequate water source and poor hygiene and sanitation practices contribute to diarrhoea and under-nutrition.

The project aims to:

  • The goal of the project is to improve the health and nutritional status of 71,594 women and children (14,103 children under five and 15,669 women and their communities) in River Gee County, Liberia.
  • This will be achieved through training and equipping 670 mothers to provide lessons on childhood nutrition, diarrhoea control and maternal/infant care, improving WASH facilities and outreaching to men, local leaders and health volunteers will promote behaviours that empower women, leading to better maternal and child health and saving 336 lives.
  • In addition, communities will have increased access to safe water and sanitation facilities through the Care Group methodology, providing training, education, capacity building and support to families in River Gee County, Liberia.

Expected Outcomes

  • Improved continuum of health care through the Care Group structure
  • Improved maternal and newborn care
  • Improved nutritional status of pregnant and lactating mothers and children under the age of five
  • Control of diarrhoeal disease and improved access to safe water and sanitation.

SPUK has partnered with the UK government’s Department For International Development to progress this project.