Published March 9, 2012
While everyone was looking at Joseph Kony, Invisible Children and their #Kony2012 campaign, the Pulitzer Center collaborative reporting team was out in rural Liberia, meeting traditional midwives and touring a health clinic.
Journalist Mae Azango led our pack to Todee, a rural district three hours from Monrovia. We interviewed seven women who work at the local health clinic as midwives, trying to understand the challenges they face. Then we visited the clinic, and we had a new appreciation for what they told us.
The maternity room has two beds and one exam table, with wooden stirrups. The hospital has no electricity and no water. The staff aren't paid, as everyone kept telling us, and even the director isn't on salary. He's paid a token thank-you from the government, with no guarantee of this non-job job the next day. He's been running the clinic since 1998, he says.
If women face complications in childbirth, there's nothing anyone here can do. They need to send the woman to a hospital. But there's no ambulance. The solution? Get her there the same way you got her to the hospital from her village, an hour or more away: put her in a hammock and find four strong guys to haul her there.
If the Internet can muster so much attention for one viral video, how about a little something for Todee?