MONROVIA, February 25, 2015 – The Liberian Government and the World Bank Group in partnership with the Government of Japan, today launched a new $3 million project to address the psychological effects of Liberia's Ebola crisis and to promote psychosocial health in the country. The ceremony was held at the World Bank Liberia Office.
The project, Supporting Psychosocial Health and Resilience in Liberia, is funded by Japan through the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), a trust fund administered by the World Bank. The Carter Center will implement this three-year project, which is expected to reach approximately 18,000 beneficiaries in Montserrado (hosting Monrovia) and Margibi counties.
World Bank Liberia Country Manager Inguna Dobraja said: "the Psychosocial Health and Resilience project will respond to the most urgent psychosocial and mental health needs of the Ebola crisis, and will contribute to building psychosocial resilience at the individual and community level." Ms. Dobraja thanked the Japanese Government for supporting this project and expressed optimism for a smooth working relation with the Ministry of Health and the Carter Center during implementation of the project.
"I want to thank the Government of Japan and the World Bank for their support to help ease the psychosocial impact of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia," said Dr. Bernice Dahn, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Republic of Liberia. She recognized the contribution of the Carter Center in training over 100 mental health clinicians who are currently providing services in the counties.
The Ambassador of Japan in Liberia, His Excellency Kaoru Yoshimura, underscored his Government's continuing commitment in responding to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Liberia.
"The Ebola outbreak increased mental health and psychosocial issues of individuals and communities, and this project represents an opportunity to help heal the psychosocial consequences it left," said Dr. Janice Cooper, The Carter Center's Project Lead for its Mental Health Program in Liberia. "The project's innovative interventions will also help foster resilient individuals and communities that can contribute to the country's continued recovery and development."
The JSDF project incorporates a particularly innovative intervention – the creation of a new cadre of Child Mental Health Clinicians (CMHCs) that will be deployed to schools. The project will also support capacity building and training for existing cadres of mental health providers. JSDF was established in 2000 by the Government of Japan and the World Bank as a mechanism to provide direct assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in eligible World Bank countries.
This JSDF-funded project is part of the World Bank's Liberia health portfolio, which also includes a Health Systems Strengthening Project and an Ebola-response initiative. Dr. Rianna Mohammed-Roberts is the World Bank Senior Health Specialist and the Bank's Task Team Leader responsible for Liberia's health portfolio.
Dr. Mohammed-Roberts said: "the Japanese Social Development Fund will help mitigate the psychosocial impact of the Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia." She added that: "implementation interventions will incorporate counseling, community dialogues and anti-stigma campaigns."
Also attending the ceremony were officials from the Ministry of Health, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), development partners and project beneficiaries.
The World Bank Group's Response to Ebola
The World Bank Group has mobilized about $1 billion in financing for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. This includes $518 million from IDA, the World Bank Group's fund for the poorest countries, to provide treatment and care, contain and prevent the spread of infections, help communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems; at least $450 million from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to enable trade, investment and employment.