By Robert Dixon|
The Ministry of Health on Wednesday December 6, 2017 opened a 9th annual review Health Conference in Monrovia under the theme” The Health Sector In Retrospect: Setting the Stage for Universal Health Coverage in Liberia”
The three Day Conference brings together Stakeholder in the Health Sectors including national and International non-Governmental Representatives, The United States Agency for International Development, the Superintendent Council, and the World Bank, World Health Organization, Faith-Based organization, among others is expected to come to an end on December 8, 2017.
Speaking at the occasion, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, lauded partners, health professional and all attendees said that Liberia has been through multiple stages of emergency, recovery and time for sustainability.
“We have come a long way since 2006 when we were just emerging from a protracted civil war and were early in the rebuilding stages.” She said.
According to her, Liberia was in desperate need of everything such as health care, professionals, equipment and facilities and the health system was about 80 percent managed and funded by international partners.
She noted that there fewer than 50 doctors and 200 facilities throughout the entire country and the national health care policy was a five page document without an operational plan.
Dr. Dahn, recall that in 2007 the Ministry introduced 2007 to 2011 National Health and Social Welfare Plan and Policy which brought forth the basic package of Health Services.
She pointed out that the Basic package was designed to impact the rebuilding of health system holistically and its central pillar was to decentralize managerial functions to county level.
Dr. Dahn indicated that 2007 Plan also charged the Government of Liberia with meeting standards that called for 15 percent of government spending to be dedicated to health care.
Speaking further the Liberia’s Health Minister stressed that in 2011, the National Health and Social Welfare Plan was updated for 2011-2021 and the Basic Package was expanded into the established package adding that the focus shifted from emergency to recovery.
“In 2012 we were able to celebrate many successes and our facilities had increased to more than 600 and we now had more than 200 deliverables and we achieved Millennium Development Goal 4 our health care workforce was growing delivering needed services for everyone.” She indicated.
She lamented that unfortunately, in 2014, Ebola crisis cause the death of almost 5,000 Liberians and eroded many of the Minister’s had fought gains and caused the health sector a major setback and learned that they must strengthen its system for emergency preparedness and response.