Liberia: USAID Commits US$6.2 Million to Boost Quality Health Service Delivery in Six Counties
Monrovia – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has made a commitment of US$6.2 million to the Liberian Government to boost quality health care delivery in six counties.
The commitment was made under the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) where it gets support for the implementation of the government’s 10 year National Health Policy and Plan.
Under the agreement, USAID reimburses the government for the cost of implementing components of the Essential Package of Health Services that support family planning, maternal and child health and malaria prevention and treatment.
The three counties are Bong, Lofa and Nimba with a population of roughly 1.4 million are expected to be the first beneficiaries.
However, based on the appeal of the Ministry of Health, an additional three counties – Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties – have been added, raising the total targeted population to 1.65 million.
The six counties under FARA, through their County Health Teams, will be given full responsibilities to implement health service delivery in their respective counties.
Speaking at the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the County Health Officers (CHOs) of the six counties on Monday, July 15, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah called on the CHOs to work diligently to ensure that resources are managed properly to boost quality health delivery in their respective counties.
She noted that transparency and accountability are the bedrock of the FARA program and expressed hope that the remaining counties are included in the near future.
“As we go and look for all these drugs and bring them to you, you have to make sure that they are used for the right purpose. That means patients will not be sent away untreated and the Doctors will be accountable for the drugs and materials are given,” Dr. Jallah warned.
Giving the overview of the program earlier, FARA Manager, Louise Thomas Mapleh explained that the project began in 2012 with a US$12 million package which focused primarily on the system and service delivery components of the National Health Policy and Plan.
However, Madam Mapleh noted that based on the exceptional performance of Bong County, more responsibilities were given to Bong to implement its service delivery and Nimba and Lofa Counties were added.
Following careful evaluation and based on recommendations from an international evaluation team, she explained that the project expanded from selected health facilities within the counties to all public health facilities under the supervision of the County Health Team.
She urged the County Health Teams to work diligently to live up to the government’s commitment to USAID, ensuring that drugs and other essential materials will be used effectively.
According to her, after the government shall have provided the drugs and other essential health-related materials for patients to receive quality healthcare and the drug is not available in the facilities, USAID will not reimburse the government with the full amount of money.
She further said: “They will reduce that by 50 percent. On top of that, if the staff required to provide services are not found on duty and if we are not using the performance appraisal system established by the Civil Service Agency, if we fall delinquent in all of those criteria, 50 percent of our reimbursement will be cut, and the second time around -75 percent.”
For her part, USAID new Health Director Jessica Healey thanked the MOH team for the tremendous work in making the partnership a success and pledged USAID commitment to the project.
In addition to reimbursement, she noted that USAID gives different technical assistance including a small financial package that the county health team can apply for to address some challenges encountered in the implementation process.
The Chairman of the Health Committee at the House of Representatives, Rep. Joseph Somwarbi pledged the Legislature support through budgetary allocation and oversight responsibilities.
The County Health Officers through their Spokesperson, Dr. Philip Sahr of Nimba and Dr. Augustine Fannieh, CHO of Grand Gedeh thanked USAID and the MOH for the continuation of the project and pledged to do all for its successful implementation.