World Health Organization
5 December 2003
ASSESSMENT MISSION TO ROBERTSPORT, GRAND CAPE MOUNT COUNTY, LIBERIA
A joint UNMIL, UN Agencies and NGOs made a three-day assessment mission to Robertsport in Grand Cape Mount County, from 3rd to5th December 2003. The health sector was represented by WHO, UNICEF and World Vision International. Later the following day the County Health Team joined the team.
Drs James Teprey and Sei Parwon represented WHO on the trip. The team embarked on the ship MV Rotterdam on Wednesday 3rd December 2003 and arrived the following day early in the morning. After recognizant missions by UNMIL, the team disembarked to begin the assessment. The assessment was conducted for two days before the return of the team.
A relatively large and enthusiastic crowd met the team. The leadership of the team met the City Mayor and the other community leaders. Greetings were exchanged between the guests and the hosts. The objective of the mission was explained to the hosts, questions were asked and answers provided accordingly.
The population of Robertsport is estimated at between 2000 and 2500. No accurate data of the population was available.
Cross section of the population
Children below the age of 5 years, women and the elderly formed the majority of the population. Teenager males were in the minority. Women were also in greater proportions when compared to their counterpart males. Many pregnant women and mothers of young children were seen.
C: THE PRESENT HEALTH SITUATION
Presently there is no health care service in the community and the district at large. ICRC donated basic Kits to the LNRC several months ago and no replenishment had taken place and the clinic had closed. People rely on local quack doctors and drug peddlers. Severe cases are taken to Monrovia, which takes 3 hours by road. The community members complained of high transportation fares to Monrovia. All health promotional and prevention activities including immunization came to a halt after the town was attacked earlier this year.
The State of the Government hospital
The hospital has been looted, vandalized and abandoned. The road to the hospital and the hospital premises are overgrown with weeds. It may not be possible to go to the hospital or go round it on foot because of the weeds.
The abandoned Govt. hospital
The hospital used to have a 32 bed capacity. It was renovated and commissioned in 1999.
From initial observation, it shows that it was not used much after the recent renovation in 1999 before the war. The physical structure (consisting of the standing building, roofings and ceiling), OPD, wards, theatre offices looked intact. However, all furniture, doors, hospital equipment, mattresses, have been damaged or looted. The theater bed is still intact and may require some servicing before use. The new looking two 37 KVA generators have been tampered with but not looted. It will require assessment by an expert.
The commonest diseases seen include malaria, Acute respiratory Infections, diarrhea among children. They also reported high prevalence of Sexually Transmitted infections among the youth. There were no serious disease epidemics. The CHT reported two cases each of jaundice and bloody diarrhea who later died.
There are in all 15 health workers presently available in the County Health. Nine (9) of them are in Sinje and includes the CHT members, five (5) in Lofa Bridge and two (2) in Robertsport. In addition there are three (3) Traditional Birth Attendants who assist deliveries.
Nutritional Status of Children
Almost all the children seen were looking healthy and not malnourished. This could be due to the fact that it is a major fishing and farming community.
Water and Sanitation
The hospital used to have a water pumping system using a pumping machine run on electricity. This could not be assessed because of the bushy nature of the premise. However, most of the water closets, sinks and pipes are intact. In the town, there are functioning hand pumps. From interview with some community members, it came to light that the people do not drink water from the hand pumps because they claim the pumps are located on lowland areas and are believed to be polluted. They therefore use water from the community wells and the nearby streams.
Donated Basic Health Kits
The health delivery system in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount is collapsed and non-existent. The most health pressing needs are immediately include.