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

MoH and WHO Celebrates World No Tobacco Day

Office of The Communication Unit

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization, local and international partners  joined the rest of the world in observant of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on  Friday May 31, 20 19.

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated around the world every year on May 31, by its Member States. The World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) designed May 31, each year as the annual world No Tobacco Day (WNTD) and it is to be observed by each member state. 

This year’s WNTD was being celebrated globally under the Theme “Tobacco and the Lungs Health”.

Local and international NGOs, Civil Society Organizations along with other government agencies   joined the Ministry of Health and its partners at 10Am in the conference room of the TB Annex in oldest Congo town to observe this all important day.

Over the year’s many countries have been able to use WNTD as the starting date for implementing new smoking bans and tobacco control efforts, since it was designed in 1987 by WHO.

The celebration of this day was intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 7 million deaths each year worldwide, including 890,000 of which are the results of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

According to research, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.

Signed: Felecia Gbesia

Director of Communication MOH/RL

MoH/WHO OBSERVES WORLD HEALTH DAY

OFFICE OF THE COMMUNICATION UNIT

The Health Ministry and the World Health organization (WHO) On Friday April 5, 2019, observed an initial celebration of World Health day at the Ministry’s head office entrance in Congo town.

The intent of this initial celebration was to present to the world the commitment and togetherness of all. The solidarity chain brought together donors, officials of the Ministry, policy Makers, WHO staff, Health Workers, patients etc.  The joining of hands around the world which was portrayed by participants, symbolizes their commitment to bridging gaps and working collaboratively towards universal health coverage (UHC), the theme for this year’s World Health Day.

Addressing the opening session, the Minister of Health, Min. Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah dedicated this year’s World Health day to all Liberians. She said as Health Practitioners, we are knowledgeable about the World Health day unlike those who are out there in desperate need of essential health tips.

This according to Dr. Jallah, can only be done by our outreach to the last mile by providing them with those basic Health educations that would enable them shoulder their own health responsibilities instead of blaming others.

Minister Jallah also stressed the need for everyone to be responsible for his or her own health by eating the right food, keeping our environment clean and having a consistent medical visitation especially when we fall ill. She finally called on all Liberians to unite and celebrate the World Health Day considering the fact that, at this point in time, Liberia as a nation can unite with the rest of the World to keep the world and Liberia healthy.

In his remarks, the WHO representative Dr. Mesfin Gebrekidan Zbelo indicated the need for universal health coverage cannot be over emphasized in that, it’s been used as the theme for this year’s World Health Day.

Dr. Mesfin said the need for universal health coverage is very much important because it ensures that everyone, no matter where they are, no matter where they live, no matter when they need it, can access quality health services without facing financial hardship. 

Speaking further, he said this year’s celebration of World Health Day shines a spotlight on the advantage universal health coverage (UHC) brings to all people in all places and the essence of it.

Dr. Mesfin stated that globally, the world Health Organization (WHO) is attempting to get one billion more people to benefit from quality health services and financial protection by 2023. The progress towards health related and broader development, can only be achieved by providing access to quality care and protection for financial option to everyone everywhere. 

He said the regional director of WHO is accelerating support to countries by realigning their services and relationship in achieving universal health coverage. In the absence of health security, there cannot be universal health coverage and in the absence of universal health coverage there cannot be health security.

This involves the assessment of the major services to ensure that they are design for everyone everywhere at every time as well as the introduction of innovative approaches for the delivery of those services. The need for making use of digital solutions will put in place innovative systems to deliver universal health coverage for the people of Africa.

In addition to support this realignment, the regional director is helping to build the evidence based around what works and what doesn’t work in developing and applying universal health coverage, by documenting practices to implement the code interventions and to also setup comprehensive information. Dr. Mesfin said, health systems strengthening for universal health coverage is one of the key instruments for change.

It entails “integration of good stewardship, adequate financing, qualified and motivated workforce, access to quality medicine and health products, functional health information system and people centered health service delivery.

He concluded on behalf of the regional director by saying “I look forward to working with governments and partners in the region so as to move towards universal health coverage. It is only by coming together that we can achieve the health and wellbeing we want for our people”. 

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh 

Director of Communications

A.U Donates Three Vehicles to the Ministry

Office of the Communication Director

On Monday, July 1, 2019: AU donates three good working condition vehicles to the Ministry of Health (MoH)

Amb. Ibrahim M. Kamara special representative of the chairperson of the AU to Liberia said, it was a pleasure to hand over the three Suvs vehicles to the Ministry of Health because the AU is more particular about the health of its members.

He further noted that the leaving of the AU should not be seen as an abandonment for Liberia but rather a stability.

Amb. Kamara said they strongly believe that Liberia has gone through a smooth and peaceful transition and the peace will be sustained.

They will be monitoring Liberia from a distance because they don’t want the presence of the AU to send out the wrong message that Liberia is still unstable but rather want their exit to give a positive image that Liberia is stable.

Amb M. Kamara then added that they were here to monitor the stability and prosperity of this country which is what they have been doing for the past fifteen years since the office was opened

He referred to it as the highest serving liaison office ever. He also saw their departure as been timely because the AU is very proud of Liberia present stability. He then noted that they will continue to engage Liberia from headquarters.

Ecowas he added, is not going to move because they looked at the sub region organizations. 

Speaking on behalf of Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the chief medical officer Dr. Francis Kateh, lauded the AU and ambassador Ibrahim M. Kamara for everything he has done personally as a representative of AU in the country.  Dr. Kateh indicated that the dedication of vehicles made by the AU to the Ministry was not a surprise to him because the AU during the (EVD) Ebola outbreak, supported the ministry greatly.

According to him, the AU have donated equipment including a generator to the government hospital in Buchanan at the time their one and only generator was down. He admonished the AU mission to remember Liberia in whatsoever they do as they leave taking a part of Liberia with them. 

The AU closing up with asset being given to the ministry of health did not also come as a surprise according to Dr. Kateh, thus, there is no better place for asset to come but to the ministry of health. AU he said, played a major role doing the time of Ebola while he worked closely with them in making sure Ebola was contained in the country. 

Dr. Kateh finally assured the AU that the donation would be used for the intended purpose.

Ministry of Health With WHO and World Bank/GFF Holds Two-Day Medical Training

Wednesday March 27-28- 2019 The Ministry of Health with support from the World Bank/GFF and the World Health Organization (WHO) climaxed a two day medical doctors and clinicians training at the Ministry’s head office in Congo town.

 Speaking on behalf of World Bank, Mrs. Munirat Iyabode Ogunlayi appreciated the Ministry of Health and the participants for their commitment and coordination as she reiterated the importance of the medical certification of cause of death (MCCD) by doctors and clinicians. 

She concluded by challenging them to utilize the training because it is timely and would be required of them in the near future, to impact other professional doctors within the health sector who were not privileged to be a part of this first batch of trainers.

Meanwhile WHO representative Dr. Mesfin Gebrekidan Zbelo, cautioned the doctors to be sensitive by not only documenting the days of  death   as well as   the date confirming the death, but as   doctors, they have to document the actual causes of death by stating the cause of death. In so doing, they are certifying and providing certification.

 According to Dr. Mesfin, it is a medical doctor’s responsibility. It makes it very relevant by doing this in a standardize approach thus enabling doctors to respond to the resolutions of other countries.  And most importantly he said, the health sector is being guided by sustainable development goals, which is the agenda for measuring our Health and other sectors strategies.

He emphasized   the need for health practitioners to have a quality data in a comparable manner. Dr. Mesfin said he expects all of us especially in the health sector, to monitor those important elements “why are mothers dying, why are new age children infants dying, why are children dying, and what is the status of AIDS from 

HIV to malaria in other countries and what are the leading causes. It is also important to know geographically the leading causes and where they are happening as an important factor. Where ever we get this standardize data we are going to use it to compare what is the situation of Liberia  as compare to other countries Dr. Mesfin said”.

 He urged the doctors and clinicians that, been the first batch of trainers opportune to be trained, they should utilize the training and lead as it is a huge responsibility. Dr. Mesfin said, the Ministry and partners are counting on them with the World Bank and WHO strategically positioned to always give them their unflinching support. He then added that as health practitioners they should value the money that World Bank has brought to the country, because it is a combination of all those factors.

He congratulated the Ministry of Health for their leadership and also appreciated the participants for their leadership as they return in order to realize this is actually happening within their facilities. It should not just be a training but something that is going to happen.

Assistant Minister for Vital statistics Chea Sanford Wesseh spoke on behalf of the Ministry. He called on the UNHCR, PLAN Liberia and other organizations to ensure that we decentralize and register births in Liberia. For death he said, has been a major challenge in mobilizing resources to fully implement death registration.

 According to Minister Wesseh, death and birth registration are part of the civil registration components. There are four major components that make up civil registration. They include death, birth, marriage, and rewards with adoption etc.  also   been other components. He further noted that their concentration at the training was emphatically placed on the component of death registration.

He said from their statistics, there are less than 5% of death in Liberia that are registered. Minister Wesseh indicated that with the accrued death rate of 7-11, death per 1000 population and Liberia as a country with a population of a little over four million people we expect 35,000 thousand to 40,000 deaths to be registered annually. He also said that in their system, there was an alarming situation in the past that nobody dies in the primary facilities but only in the secondary facilities. So they did not make provisions in their ledgers and reporting instruments for deaths occurring in the primary health facilities.

 According to Minister Wesseh it was changed last year and currently, they are capturing deaths occurring in primary facilities. Registering less than 6000, it means that we have been capturing less than 25% of the deaths. Mr. Wesseh noted that even with the 5,000 annual, the amount of 1,000 deaths have never been register at the central Ministry.

 He said the highest death ever recorded in the health information system was close to 10,000 in 2014 and obviously it was because of the Ebola outbreak (EVD). Apart from that, the hospitals and health centers have been registering less than 6,000 deaths annually.

 Mr. Wesseh lamented on what is killing our people and unless we document actually and scientifically or medically what is killing our people, it will become very difficult to inform policy makers on what interventions that are effective and appropriate for reducing and preventing more deaths in our Country.

 Speaking further he said this is the reason for which those doctors and clinicians were called to expose them to the medical certification of cause of death form, how to complete, to talk about the importance and to also expose them to the international classification of diseases(ICD11). He also disclosed that it was something good because there is not any form of ICD in our Health system, so it is good that they have started such an essential training.

Mr. Wesseh talked about the Health sector having multiple medical certification and in moving forward, it was an opportunity to harmonize and standardize the cause of death. He cautioned them to change the way they have been documenting deaths because after the training, the Ministry hope to cascade the training to other counties.

 He lauded the WORLD BANK/GFF and the WHO facilitators for their presence, financial and technical support as the Ministry will continue to engage them until we can have a resilient health sector.The training conducted for medical doctors and clinicians was comprehensive, interactive, and it brought together participants from the various counties.

Israel Holds Workshop On Emergency Disaster And Accident Management

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Israeli government on June 19th, 2019 started a week long workshop aimed at training health workers in how to respond to emergency disaster and accident management in the country. The workshop which is being held at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town by the County Health Division of the Ministry of Health.

The workshop brought together officers from the Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National Drugs Enforcement Agency, Liberia National Fire Service and other government agencies.

According to Dr. Francis N. Kateh Deputy Minister for Health Services and Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, the workshop will enhance the skills of the participants in the area of emergency accident and disaster management.

The Liberia Chief Medical Officer making remarks on behalf of the Ministry of Health, cautioned participants of the workshop to see the training as a golden opportunity to equip and prepare them for future emergency incidents.

Dr. Kateh noted that no knowledge acquired is wasted, adding that the knowledge he had acquired over the years which he thought would have never been used was what he brought on board during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in 2014.

It can be recalled in 2014 the health sector of the country came under serious attack by the Ebola virus that claimed the lives of many Liberians.

The virus which came as a strange outbreak of disease in the country’s health sector was immediately fought with straight measures that quickly curb the virus.

Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, the Representative of the embassy of Israel MASHAV Officer Madam Dana Chocron lauds the government of Liberia for embracing the Israelis government own efforts in the Liberia health sector.

According to Madam Chocron the friendship between Liberia and Israel has been a longstanding one. Meanwhile, Dr. Kateh lauds the people and government of Israel for their support and hope that the longstanding friendship continue on good footing.

Ministry of Health Receives 10 Vehicles From The World Bank

Liberia’s health sector on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 received a significant boost after the World Bank presented 10 vehicles to the Ministry of Health. The vehicles which includes Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols are valued over four hindered thousand United States Dollars.

World Bank Senior Health Specialist, Dr. Munirat Ogunlayi said it was a joyous day for the bank with the presentation of such vehicles. Dr. Ogunlayi appealed that the vehicles be properly maintained and used for the purpose intended. Also receiving the keys of the vehicles, Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Norwu Howard, thanked the World Bank for the donation and promised that they would be used for the intended purpose. Minister Howard also assured that users of the vehicles will be held accountable to ensure proper maintenance. Minister Howard said investing resources behind health programs and indicators demonstrate a strong desire of the Bank to boosts indicators and capacitate the health workers.

Earlier, World Bank Representative in the Ministry of Health, Matthew Flomo announced that the vehicles were made available under the Health System Strengthening Project. Three of the vehicles will be used by the Community Health Assistance Program, two by the Nursing and Midwifery Division and the remaining five of the vehicles will be used the Performance Base Financing interventions at both central and in three counties including Gbarpolu, Rivercess and Sinoe.

Signed: Sorbor George/Communication Consultant/MOH

Operation Restore Hope Center Underway

Government of Liberia and Oum El Nour Tour the newly Proposed Rehabilitation Site in Grand Bassa County

Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah along with Grand Bassa County Representative Hans Barchue, Bishop Guy Paul Noujaim, (President and Co-founder of Oum El Nour, Liberia-OENL), and other members of the OENL board toured the newly proposed drug and alcohol rehabilitation site-in Grand Bassa county on Saturday, June 1st. 

The Government of Liberia has initiated a partnership with Oum El Nour, a non-governmental organization from Lebanon to construct the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Grand Bassa County.  The proposed name for the rehabilitation center is “Operation Restore Hope”, a name given by the challenged Youth of Liberia.

The official launch is expected to take place by H.E. President George M. Weah.  Government stakeholders for this initiative include the Ministries of Health, Youth & Sports, Finance and Development Planning, and Public Works.

The center, when completed will rehabilitate, provide drug/alcohol detoxification as well as collaborate with agencies and partners for re-integration into the society. The rehabilitation program at the newly proposed center will also transform lives by training and providing those enrolled in the program with skill-building opportunities to help make them independent and productive citizens.

Minister Jallah thanked OENL for the laudable initiative and said the project is a part of President Weah’s cherished programs to help transform people struggling with alcohol, drugs and other forms of substance abuse as well as provide them with useful training skills for subsequent integration into various communities in Liberia.

The Health Minister went on to further express her gratitude on behalf of the Liberian Government to the World Lebanese Cultural Union in Liberia and their sponsors for taking the initiative to partner with the Liberian government to make a difference in the lives of the Liberian people.

Grand Bassa County Representative Hans Barchue also lauded the initiative made by the Lebanese community in Liberia and pledged the county full support to its achievement.   

OEN President and co-founder Bishop Noujaim expressed gratitude to President Weah and his government for the land space and reaffirmed his organization commitment to the realization of the program.

Bishop Noujaim said he was motivated by the timely and positive response of the President toward efforts aimed at transforming people on drugs and alcohol.