Health

Celebrating the Restoration of Essential Health and Community Services in Southeast Liberia

30/08/2016 - 14:35
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The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Partners In Health (PIH), and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) have received a total of 7 million Euro from the European Union's “A West African Response to Ebola” (AWARE) project to improve and strengthen the health care system in four counties in Southeast Liberia and early recovery initiatives in Lofa and Nimba counties through a combination of support to health facilities and communities.

AWARE Liberia monitoring visit July 2016

Through June 2017, IRC and PIH will continue to work hand-in-hand with County Health Teams to support their efforts to provide safe, high quality primary care services for the people of Grand Gedeh, Rivergee, Maryland and Grand Kru counties. The partnership also aims to enhance the management and technical capacity of the County Health Teams in the four counties via on-the-job coaching and mentoring opportunities. All activities are fully in line with helping the counties reach the objectives set out in the Ministry of Health’s Essential Package of Health Services. DRC is initiating a resilience strengthening program with an integrated and multi sectoral approach, taking into account the needs and health risks, but also psycho-social and economic impacts of the epidemic including potential conflicts related to existing tensions that have been exacerbated by the EVD epidemic in target intervention areas in Maryland, River Gee, Nimba and Lofa Counties. 

PIH is an International Global Health NGO with programs in 10 countries. They have been working in Liberia since Fall 2014, where they were asked by the Ministry of Health to manage Ebola Response efforts in select counties in the Southeast. Post Ebola Response, PIH has established presence in Maryland, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh to focus on broader community health efforts, clinical quality of care and long term health systems strengthening in these counties.

"While it is true that funding is needed to build the quality of the Health Care Systems in Country in General, it is imperative that the four south-eastern counties need major attention.  Hence, the EU funding is critical in bridging the gap. What is most critical is that such funding should be targeted in building a tangible quality health systems.”
Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Medical Officer

Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) (www.Rescue.org) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, to survive, recover and gain control of their future. IRC has worked in Liberia since 1996, and today implements innovative programming to achieve meaningful improvements in the health, safety, and power of Liberian people in Lofa, Nimba, Montserrado, Maryland, River Gee, Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa counties. 

DRC is a Humanitarian NGO that works in 40 countries throughout the world. In Liberia since 1998, DRC has been working in the border regions to build protection capacities and resilience among conflict affected persons, people in displacement and providing durable solutions upon return. DRC employs a community approach, strengthening the existing monitoring and early warning systems in the villages and neighborhoods, while mitigating the risk of conflict and limiting stigmatization and violations of the rights of individuals. Within the specific project framework, with focus on improving preparedness measures; the aim is to reinforce the resilience of vulnerable households; promote awareness raising and behavioral change.

With this funding from the EU, IRC and PIH are working with the counties to address a broad range of clinical and community health needs, most notably improvements in immunization coverage and reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality by ensuring safe and quality ANC and delivery services are available at health facilities in the counties. In addition, they are working together with the mental health leads of the four counties to strengthen access to mental health services at select facilities in the county, providing training and stocking of medications for patients in need of mental health services.

The activities in Grand Gedeh, Rivergee, Maryland and Grand Kru will serve a combined population of close to 400,000 and will work to reinforce the number of skilled facility births, immunization coverage, and overall primary health services while leveraging ongoing efforts to strengthen community-based services, especially for those communities that are located more than 5 km from the nearest health facility. Together the planned activities will provide imperative services to some of Liberia’s most under-served counties.

On Saturday July 16, the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh joined the Superintendent, Betsy Kuoh, and the County Health Officer, Dr. Meyer Pajibo, and representatives of the 3 organizations met together in Maryland to review progress made to-date on activities and celebrated the coming together of communities and organizations and local government towards better health outcomes for the people of the Southeast Liberia.