Liberia: VP Taylor Applauds USAID for Helping Health Sector

As US Ambassador Praises Partner for Achievements in Maternal Child Survival Program

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Monrovia – Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has praised the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its essential role in helping the nation’s health sector to tackle some of the challenges confronting it.


Report by Alaskai Moore Johnson, [email protected]


Speaking Thursday, September 13, through her Senior Policy Specialist, Mr. Anthony V. Kesselly, VP Taylor spoke of the initiative being consistent with the George Weah-led administration’s pro-poor initiatives aimed at strengthening service delivery in maternal and new-born heath.

  

The Vice President also lauded the USAID-sponsored Maternal & Child Survival Program (MCSP) as essential for tackling some of the health challenges confronting the country by strengthening the capability and resilience of Liberia’s frontline health workforce to address second order impacts from the Ebola crisis and strengthening pre-service training of midwives and laboratory personnel.

In spite of this, she reminded the audience: “We should thus acknowledge that we have a far way to go, though Liberia at some point did register some modest gains in this sphere. For, here we are still stuck with a country that is burdened with a staggering over 1,000 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births.

“This has unfortunately relegated us to such an unenviable classification as one of those countries carrying the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. It is only prudent that we brace ourselves to confront this behemoth of a challenge to exorcise this evil malaise that persists in bedeviling our forward march as a nation.”

However, she added: “One key strand of your germane objectives is to decrease maternal mortality by increasing births in clinics and births attended by skilled birth attendants (midwives) and to strengthen existing maternal health services, community networks and include new service points.  These go to the nerve of unshackling our underserved populations from this inhibiting phenomenon of maternal and child mortality.”

The Vice President used the occasion to urge the donors and implementers of the program to press forward with the initiatives, aimed at bringing relief to Liberians.

She applauded the generosity of the American people, through USAID, for sustaining the MCSP; adding: “Strengthening our frontline health workforce, especially focusing on pre-service education for Midwifery and Medical Laboratory Technician institutions is for me such a worthy and welcome undertaking.”

Madam Taylor assured her audience, included health practitioners, to stay the course as they have the ‘blessing’ of President George Manneh Weah, as well as her specific interests and support, to this worthy effort that goes directly to meaningfully impacting the lives of Liberians.

The USAID-sponsored MCSP, Human Resources for Health (HRH) Project conducted the day-long events in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Pre-Service Institutions and Health Partners. The day was celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating and Promoting Sustainable Pre-Service Education for Quality Human Resources for Healthy Liberia: MCSP HRH Empowering Midwives and Medical Laboratory Technicians.”

Speaking earlier, US Ambassador Christine Elder praise MCSP HRH for sharing the achievements of the Maternal Child Survival Program Human Resources for Health Activity over the past two years.

The USAID-sponsored partner works with the Health Ministry to mitigate a major gap in the health workforce of Liberia by strengthening pre-service education for midwives and medical laboratory technicians.

“It is evident from studies conducted after Ebola that serious shortages existed among these two important cadres of health workers, who are critical to providing quality health services to women and children,” the US Diplomat added.

Ambassador Elder indicated that because of the partnership, the teaching and learning environment has significantly improved at the six institutions that train midwives and laboratory technicians.   

“Their instructors are also better prepared to plan and deliver the training curriculum in keeping with global standards. The bottom line is that today, we have more trained midwives and laboratory technicians to provide care to women and children,” she stated.

Ambassador Elder hoped that the gains that they have made will be sustained and the strategies employed will be adapted and scaled for greater national impact.

Direct beneficiaries of the MCSP HRH Project are Registered Midwifery (RM) and/or Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) Programs; Monrovia-based Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts, Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences; United Methodist University and the Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences, Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery, in Zorzor, Lofa County, Phebe Paramedical Training Program of Phebe, Bong County and the Deanna K. Isaacson School of Midwifery formerly the Midwifery Training Program for the Southeastern Region located in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.

The event featured cultural performance and held exhibition to showcase selected high impact interventions focusing on Medical Laboratory Technicians, Registered Midwives, Gender, Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning, Leadership, Management and Development Program and Faculty Development Program.

MCSP HRH Project has contributed significantly to USAID/Liberia’s strategy toward strengthening and expanding Liberia’s skilled health workforce and preventing Child and Maternal mortality through improving health workforce readiness, reinforcing entry-level Registered Midwives and Medical Laboratory Technicians’ Pre-Service Education.

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