After visiting the clinic in Todee, about three hours from Monrovia, we decided to take a trip to the James N. Davies Jr. Memorial Hospital, on the edge of the capital. This hospital receives complicated or problematic cases from rural clinics, including the clinic in Todee.
Davies Hospital, a joint initiative of the Liberian government, USAID and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), seeks to address a significant lack of emergency obstetric and neonatal care—cited by the IRC as a major factor in Liberia's high maternal mortality rates.
Although we visited on a public holiday, the midwives had already attended to several births and treated women suffering from eclampsia and other labor complications. Of the 10 beds in the recovery rooms, only two were empty.
The hospital receives referrals from nine primary health clinics serving roughly 230,000 people, and patients sometimes travel more than 100 miles to get to Davies. While the hospital itself has a low maternal mortality rate, many women die en route or arrive at the hospital when it is already too late.