11th National Health Review Conference

The Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah says between January and October 2019, the health sector has recorded over 94,268 normal deliveries conducted by skilled birth attendants, with 7,061 through caesarian section amidst 117,575 infants were reported to be fully immunized.

Speaking at the MOH 11th Annual National Health Review Conference held at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, the Liberian Health Minister disclosed that 146,041 persons are currently living with HIV and Aids, while 6,554 cases of all forms of TB are living with 5,941 cases completing treatment and 2,222 cases cured of TB. She recorded 223,446 as total number of surgeries performed over the period, including all forms of emergencies.

Dr. Jallah explained that in 2018 the MOH and partners conducted a service availability and readiness assessment which covered 765 health facilities, with highest number of facilities (268 Or 35% in Montserrado County while Grand Kru and Gbarpolu Counties having least number each of them had 17 health facilities (both counties constituted 4.8% of the total health facilities).

She said the assessment also showed that majority of health facilities in Liberia were clinic constituting 87.7%, health Centers 7.5% and Hospital 4.9%; and a little over half (56.7%) of the facilities are located in the rural areas.

Dr. Jallah expressed that the health sector is determined to accelerate access and effective coverage as the sector moves towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) where everyone has access to quality health services.

“Our progress towards achieving UHC is being hampered by the prevailing decline in domestic resources mobilization, reduction in personal income as well as shrinking international support. The result is limited resources to provide financial protection and reduce out of pocket spending,” she noted.

She said the provision of health services at no cost to the user has adversely affected the quality of care and it’s only now that the Ministry has begun addressing this issue to measure and improve quality of health services, saying “This so-called ‘Free services’ has continued over the past 12 years and we believe that it is time to introduce some minimum fees to support the Revolving Drug Fund (RDF) as an intermediary measure towards the implementation of the Liberian Health Equity Fund (LHEF).”

Minister Jallah said, “We must take the bold step and announce that we are moving away from this disjointed, uncontrollable free health care regime to a more organized targeted services for the poor and vulnerable Liberians.”

Meanwhile, the Liberian Health Minister says the Ministry is continuing its efforts to expand health services to the majority of the Liberian population, adding that they are gradually shifting from the costly curative, intensive programs to cost-effective, preventive-oriented community-based primary health care programs.

She said the National health delivery system is designed to provide a complementary manner, preventive and curative health services throughout the country, with particular emphasis on maternal newborn and child health (MNCH) services including immunization and nutrition services; infection prevention and control (IPC), WASH, and health promotion.

Serving as keynotes speaker at the conference, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers said poverty reduction is a central vision of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) government; adding that its eventual eradication cannot be achieved without effective human capital development.

Dr. Chambers believed that a country cannot achieve sustainable human capital development to fight poverty in the absence of a strong health system.

“Poverty eradication cannot be achieved without first achieving Universal Health Coverage (UNC). This makes UHC very critical for poverty eradication,” he continued.

In furtherance, Speaker Chambers said the Liberian health Sector is faced with series of challenges in the mist of high maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, growing burden of neglected tropical and non-communicable diseases, noting “These challenges cannot be mitigated without the total involvement of all Liberians as stakeholders from our partners in the global community, to Liberians in the diaspora as well as our local communities.

He underscored the importance for total involvement of the users themselves in the management and delivery of health care.

The 11th Annual National Health Conference is observed under the theme: “Improving Access to quality PHC Services in Liberia; A Call to Action”. The opening ceremony gathers officials and staff from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Parliamentarians, County Superintendents, County Health Officers, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-based Organizations, sectorial ministries, media groups and a wide range of health development partners to review and document the health sector performance in fiscal year 2018/2019.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

Community Health Services Division Holds It’s National Quarterly Review Meeting

Office of the Communication Unit

COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES DIVISION SCORES 80% IN ACHIEVEMENTS

The Community Health Services Division at the Ministry of Health in collaboration with County Health Teams (CHTs), County Health Officers (CHOs), County Health Focus Persons (CHFPs), Medical Directors, Senior Management  Team, Donors and implementing Partners  held a meeting  at the Wuo Garbie Tappia Intellectual hall, at  the Peace Empire hotel in Gompa, Nimba County.

Acknowledging Partners, including the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia (CMO), our Donors and implementing Partners, Director Wiah of the Community Health services Division appreciated UNICEF, LAST MILE HEALTH, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, PACS AND PIH for their timely intervention inspite of the challenges faced in the Health Sector. He also thanked the CHOs, CHTs, Ministers, Directors of other Programs for the attendance and support.

Grand Bassa County CHO, Dr. Anthony Tucker, appreciated Donors and Implementing Partners for their continuous support to the Health Sector. He acknowledged the dedicated performances of Health Practitioners despite the constraints faced by the sector. 

He also lauded the National Government for the allotment but called on her to see the need for the inclusion of the County Health Service Supervisors (CHSS) on the payroll. 

Rev. John Sumo, Director of the Health Promotion Division stressed the need for integration of various Programs as well as Direct Budgetary Support for other Divisions lacking, to mention, Health Promotion Division, Communication Unit etc. 

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Minister Chea Sanford Wesseh expressed gratitude to the CHSD leadership of the County Health Team (CHTs), leaders at the central level, Donors, and Implementing Partners for their commitment and financial support towards the implementation of the National Community Health Assistant Program. 

Minister Wesseh disclosed that there are work to be done but the first priority needed to be implemented after such an interactive Review Meeting is, to share the action points within two weeks in order for participants inputs to be made and finalized.

 As a way forward he said, all programs will be tracked regularly both at Central and County level. He also amplified progresses made so far, but there is still an urgent need to do more as a Ministry by demonstrating results that would visualize the success of the program. 

He then emphasized the need for the Monitoring and Evaluation Division to exert pressure on their colleagues to enable them do their work effectively. He indicated that the issue around HR transition and the stockout issue will happen at the National level.Minister Wesseh conclusively called on health practitioners to remain proactive as the senior management team engage the Supply Chain Unit and lobby with Donors to see how they can invest in the Supply Chain to have a laudable performance.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

Director of Communication  

Samaritan’s Purse New Eye Center Offered Free Surgeries in Tellewayon Medical Center

The Samaritan’s purse New Sight Eye Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Health held a one week of major eye surgical operations in Voinjama District Lofa County from August 19-23, 2019. Its intent was to restore better eye sight to those faced with eyes condition residing in Lofa and its suburb. 

Speaking to the Ministry of Health TV,  Mrs. kou Bamakoa Sims, Health Sector Manager of  Samaritan’s Purse said, the operation  seeks to address situations ranging from CATARACTS TO NEARLY VISUAL IMPAIR INDIVIDUAL .She further noted that the campaign declared  against cataracts is sponsored by Samaritan’s purse and implemented by the new sight eye center located in Monrovia. 

The actual cost of this project is about fifteen thousand united state dollars ($15, 00.00USD) she added. This eye operation is Samaritan ‘s purse own way of evangelism as they preach Christ across the nation. 

The patients on the other hand, lamented the need for an extension in the time frame of this surgical operations, on grounds that the number of people wanting to undergo treatment has increased from approximately 1000 to 1,500 or more.

 Lofa County isdensely populated, geographically large and the number of persons that left their homes was still optimistic to be served. One major reason for the growing number of people on a daily basic as the operation continued was because of families being inspired by the testimonies of their love ones. So, they were moved to pull in their numbers. 

However, the supervisor on this program said nothing could be done despite the massive turnout. Meanwhile, there is a set priority on target (cataracts). She indicated that most of the cases screened were not eye cataracts but rather Pterygium (flesh growing on the eye), while others could have been spiritual.

According to Mrs. Sims, while it is true that the turnout is overwhelming, the trip itself is a field survey and a case study hoping that the ministry of health and partners would see the need to making sure that immediate attention is drawn to the eye sector in Liberia.                             

Also speaking to this TV was the chief administrator of Tellewayon Medical Hospital Mr. Albert M Colee. He was amazed by the soul touching testimonies of patients who over the period have suffered the effects of cataracts and blindness for years.  

They were seen glorifying God for the Samaritan’s purse, new sight eye center and the government of Liberia. He outlines several challenges faced by the Tellewayon Medical Hospital, but the most disturbing one is running the facility without an eye surgeon, cognizant that the hospital is a very large place.

Meanwhile, the assistant District Development Superintendent Samuel Mulbah lauded the team of surgeon headed by Robert Dolo assisted by Clarence Nyan Menteh for a brilliant and significant job done so far, and would have appreciated more if the exercise would stay and even extend beyond Lofa County as well as other parts of the District.  

Climaxing the entire Surgical Operation was Dr. Joseph L Kerkulah program manager, National Eye Health of the Ministry of Health located in the oldest Congo town. 

According to Dr. Kerkulah, the surgical outreach was successful on grounds that they anticipated treating only fifty (50) persons for the entire five (5) days but exceeded the target and treated three times that number. He further went on to say that “based on our experience in Rivercess we did pre campaign awareness and mobilization that led to the huge turnout of patients in the Voinjama region. we would actually love to return and do more work in that region but the issue of funding remains a challenge. Hence, the training of eye surgeons cannot be over emphasized.” 

Liberia Early Warning Disease Surveillance EPI (Week 31) (2019)

During Epi week 31, the following were highlighted: 

  • A total of 93 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases and events including 23 deaths were reported from 15 Counties
  • Completeness and timeliness of health facility reports were both 98% 
  • Measles outbreak in River Gee County

More details are found in the PDF below.

Liberia Early Warning Disease Surveillance EPI (Week 30) (2019)

During Epi Week 30, the following were highlighted:

  • A total of 70 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases and events including 14 deaths were reported from 15 Counties
  • Completeness and timeliness of health facility reports were both 98% 
  • Measles outbreaks ongoing in Rivercess and Grand Gedeh Counties

More details are found in the PDF below.

MOH And USAID Signs 6.2 Million Dollar MOU

COMMUNICATION UNIT

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United States Agency for International development (USAID) on Monday July 15, 2019, signed a memorandum of understanding by contracting an additional three counties, Grand Cape Mount, River Gee and Rivercess to make sure that Liberians achieve quality healthcare.

This recent MOU of the additional three (3) counties was signed based on the positive indicators realized from the first three (3) traditional FARA counties, Lofa, Nimba and Bong which were contracted-in last year, July 19, 2018 by USAID.

This agreement was made under the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Account (FARA) at the Ministry of Health in which it is being supported for the implementation of the government’s ten-year national health policy and plan. 

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, cautioned the county health officers to jealously protect the American taxpayer’s money, other donors funding as well as the government allotment by assuming accountability and transparency. 

Jessica Healey, USAID’s new Health Director, appreciated the MOH leadership for the level of effectiveness to making sure that the partnership succeeds. 

According to Director Healey, there are other programs through which the American Government is willing to assist Liberia through USAID.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

Communication Director

Liberia Early Warning Disease Surveillance EPI (Week 29) (2019)

During Epi week 29, the following were highlighted: 

  • A total of 104 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases and events including 16 deaths were reported from 15 Counties
  • Completeness and timeliness of health facility reports were  98% and 97% respectively
  • Measles outbreaks ongoing in Rivercess and Grand Gedeh Counties

More details are found in the PDF below.

Liberia Early Warning Disease Surveillance EPI (Week 28) (2019)

During Epi week 28, the following were highlighted: 

  • A total of 105 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases and events including 15 deaths were reported from 15 Counties
  • Completeness and timeliness of health facility reports were both  97% 
  • Measles outbreaks in Rivercess and Grand Gedeh Counties

More details are found in the PDF below.

Liberia Early Warning Disease Surveillance EPI (Week 27) (2019)

During Epi week 27 the following were highlighted: 

  • A total of 78 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases and events including 23 deaths were reported from 15 Counties
  • Completeness and timeliness of health facility reports were both  97% 

More details are found in the PDF below.