(Tuesday, November 9, 2021, Congo Town, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with partners has officially launched a five-year National Malaria Social Behavior Change (SBC) Strategy, beginning 2021 to 2025.
The Liberia National Malaria Strategic plan (NSP) 2021-2025 redefines the strategic direction and focus of the Malaria program, including strengthening of management and coordination structure, health system, and capacities to achieve greater equality, coverage, quality, and more effective delivery of the interventions. In addition, the malaria NSP includes plan for preparedness and timely response during emergencies to ensure malaria control activities continue with minimal disruptions in an emergency (e.g., Ebola Virus Disease or coronavirus).
The launch which took place at the Ministry on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, gathering stakeholders from hybrid sectors, with both local and international organizations, including Global Fund, PCU, WHO, UNICEF, USAID/Breakthrough Action, amongst others, being in huge attendance.
As the first National Malaria Social Behavior Change Strategy for Liberia, this document is intended to guide all social and behavior change efforts supporting the objectives outlined in the NSP.
Calling on the public in general to change their behavior on the way they treat their surroundings was Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Hon. Norwu Howard: “We must change our behaviors on how we treat the places we live.”
The environmental factors such as the presence of bushes and stagnant water around homes were among few things the Deputy Minister spoke on; thereby encouraging the public to always clear their surroundings and use mosquitos net.
Though, there are several factors leading to the breeding of malaria across the nation, but with the coming in force of this Document, there will be room for improvement, according Oliver Pratt, Program Manager, National Malaria Control Program.
“Each of the stated SBC priority areas involves a range of actors within the Government of Liberia and external partners. SBC efforts can only realize their full potential for improving results with improved coordination at the national and sub-national levels. A shared agenda for SBC and clarity on the roles and responsibilities are critical to effectively implementing this strategy and fully achieving the objectives.
“while the NMCP is responsible for providing leadership, coordination, and strategic direction for operationalization of the strategy, effective collaboration with other multi-sectoral stakeholders at all levels will ensure strategy implementation and scale-up results in high-quality malaria prevention, care, and treatment efforts across Liberia. Through regular coordination meetings, message harmonization efforts, information sharing, joint monitoring, and other coordination efforts, the SBC efforts outlined in this strategy will reach the outlined objectives. Therefore, this strategy aligns with the coordination plan outlined and discussed in the National Malaria Strategic Plan 2021-2025. In addition, it is expected that all stakeholders, implementing partners, and donors will actively participate in providing technical and funding support as appropriate and support the implementation of the SBC interventions to support congruent thematic areas as outlined in the National Malaria Strategy Plan 202-2025, the National Communication Strategy (2016-2021), the National Health Promotion Policy and Plan,” Mr Pratt giving overview of the New National Malaria SBC Strategy (2021-2025).
However, in remarks was also Breakthrough Action’s Chief of Party Dr Saratu Olabode-Ojo, who explained the positive impacts being made by the US organization in twelve of Liberia’s fifteen Counties, particularly in the
“Breakthrough Action is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) flagship social and behavior change (SBC) project by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. The project will be implemented in Liberia from April 2020 to March 2022.
“Breakthrough Action works collaboratively in Liberia with the Ministry of Health at the national and subnational levels and in complementarity to relevant USAID implementing partners. The project is designed to: improve the effectiveness of SBC, implement high-quality SBC activities that will result in improved demand and use of health services for malaria; maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH); nutrition; family planning/ reproductive health (FP/RH); adolescent health (AH); and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and support informed communities engaging in behaviors to prevent zoonotic and non-zoonotic infections in line with the global health security Agenda (GHSA)”, Dr. Olabode-Ojo.
Finally, in separate remarks, speakers representing diverse organizations pledged their commitment in supporting the new document launched for the provision and delivery of quality healthcare to the public.
Director of Communication