Wednesday March 27-28- 2019 The Ministry of Health with support from the World Bank/GFF and the World Health Organization (WHO) climaxed a two day medical doctors and clinicians training at the Ministry’s head office in Congo town.
Speaking on behalf of World Bank, Mrs. Munirat Iyabode Ogunlayi appreciated the Ministry of Health and the participants for their commitment and coordination as she reiterated the importance of the medical certification of cause of death (MCCD) by doctors and clinicians.
She concluded by challenging them to utilize the training because it is timely and would be required of them in the near future, to impact other professional doctors within the health sector who were not privileged to be a part of this first batch of trainers.
Meanwhile WHO representative Dr. Mesfin Gebrekidan Zbelo, cautioned the doctors to be sensitive by not only documenting the days of death as well as the date confirming the death, but as doctors, they have to document the actual causes of death by stating the cause of death. In so doing, they are certifying and providing certification.
According to Dr. Mesfin, it is a medical doctor’s responsibility. It makes it very relevant by doing this in a standardize approach thus enabling doctors to respond to the resolutions of other countries. And most importantly he said, the health sector is being guided by sustainable development goals, which is the agenda for measuring our Health and other sectors strategies.
He emphasized the need for health practitioners to have a quality data in a comparable manner. Dr. Mesfin said he expects all of us especially in the health sector, to monitor those important elements “why are mothers dying, why are new age children infants dying, why are children dying, and what is the status of AIDS from
HIV to malaria in other countries and what are the leading causes. It is also important to know geographically the leading causes and where they are happening as an important factor. Where ever we get this standardize data we are going to use it to compare what is the situation of Liberia as compare to other countries Dr. Mesfin said”.
He urged the doctors and clinicians that, been the first batch of trainers opportune to be trained, they should utilize the training and lead as it is a huge responsibility. Dr. Mesfin said, the Ministry and partners are counting on them with the World Bank and WHO strategically positioned to always give them their unflinching support. He then added that as health practitioners they should value the money that World Bank has brought to the country, because it is a combination of all those factors.
He congratulated the Ministry of Health for their leadership and also appreciated the participants for their leadership as they return in order to realize this is actually happening within their facilities. It should not just be a training but something that is going to happen.
Assistant Minister for Vital statistics Chea Sanford Wesseh spoke on behalf of the Ministry. He called on the UNHCR, PLAN Liberia and other organizations to ensure that we decentralize and register births in Liberia. For death he said, has been a major challenge in mobilizing resources to fully implement death registration.
According to Minister Wesseh, death and birth registration are part of the civil registration components. There are four major components that make up civil registration. They include death, birth, marriage, and rewards with adoption etc. also been other components. He further noted that their concentration at the training was emphatically placed on the component of death registration.
He said from their statistics, there are less than 5% of death in Liberia that are registered. Minister Wesseh indicated that with the accrued death rate of 7-11, death per 1000 population and Liberia as a country with a population of a little over four million people we expect 35,000 thousand to 40,000 deaths to be registered annually. He also said that in their system, there was an alarming situation in the past that nobody dies in the primary facilities but only in the secondary facilities. So they did not make provisions in their ledgers and reporting instruments for deaths occurring in the primary health facilities.
According to Minister Wesseh it was changed last year and currently, they are capturing deaths occurring in primary facilities. Registering less than 6000, it means that we have been capturing less than 25% of the deaths. Mr. Wesseh noted that even with the 5,000 annual, the amount of 1,000 deaths have never been register at the central Ministry.
He said the highest death ever recorded in the health information system was close to 10,000 in 2014 and obviously it was because of the Ebola outbreak (EVD). Apart from that, the hospitals and health centers have been registering less than 6,000 deaths annually.
Mr. Wesseh lamented on what is killing our people and unless we document actually and scientifically or medically what is killing our people, it will become very difficult to inform policy makers on what interventions that are effective and appropriate for reducing and preventing more deaths in our Country.
Speaking further he said this is the reason for which those doctors and clinicians were called to expose them to the medical certification of cause of death form, how to complete, to talk about the importance and to also expose them to the international classification of diseases(ICD11). He also disclosed that it was something good because there is not any form of ICD in our Health system, so it is good that they have started such an essential training.
Mr. Wesseh talked about the Health sector having multiple medical certification and in moving forward, it was an opportunity to harmonize and standardize the cause of death. He cautioned them to change the way they have been documenting deaths because after the training, the Ministry hope to cascade the training to other counties.
He lauded the WORLD BANK/GFF and the WHO facilitators for their presence, financial and technical support as the Ministry will continue to engage them until we can have a resilient health sector.The training conducted for medical doctors and clinicians was comprehensive, interactive, and it brought together participants from the various counties.