The World Bank Group (WBG)has committed its support to the Government of Liberia in improving the health sector through strengthening the capacity of the country’s healthcare delivery system and the sustainable management of available resources.
Speaking Wednesday at the opening of a three-day stakeholder’s consultation for desired Health outcomes at a local hotel in Paynesville, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko stated that the workshop is intended to identify and subsequently address institutional constraints in order to achieve the desired outcomes in the healthcare delivery system.
Leshchenko noted that it is true that Liberia is building and improving the healthcare infrastructure, including training of health workers, but indicated that health outcomes suggest that much needs to be done to improve the overall sector.
“We are concerned about maternal mortality rates and teenage pregnancy rates which are amongst the highest in West Africa and the world. Too many mothers are dying and too many young girls are not experiencing childhood the way they should. The Human Capital index released in September 2018, ranks Liberia at 153 of 157 countries,” Leshchenko said.
The World Bank official cited that if Liberia must improve its rating on the human capital index and improve health outcomes, it needs to think much more about the critical pathways to results, adding that institutional reforms is critical to achieving such.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah acknowledged that there are many challenges faced by the Liberian health sector, but stressed that there have also been numerous gains in the sector that do not need to be celebrated.
She lamented that the positive outcomes desired by the Liberian people are not consistent in the health sector, adding that at certain point of time statistics are good and at some time bad, describing it as a rollercoaster.
Notwithstanding, Minister Jallah cited that the sector has recorded numerous gains which include strengthening of surveillance that enable health officers prevent and control health threats, the provision of specialized training for 28 specialties, school of eye-health system launch, housing development for staffs, among others.
She observed that the health sector is challenged with multi-sectoral problems, reigning from roads, water, and agriculture to education,
“If you have a facility in a rural area and there is no road to get to that facility that means the facility is going to be wasted. We need roads to get to all of our facilities to enable us manage them well,” Minister Jallah stressed.
Jallah asserted that the improvement of other areas that are directly or indirectly associated with health will definitely foster development in the health sector, adding:”For example, the water system needs to be addressed because part of the diseases affecting people are caused by water borne disease.””We want to improve the health sector and put Liberia on the map for good things not for bad things,” Jallah disclosed.