Americares Launches “Community Partnerships for Respectful Care” to Reduce Disrespect and Abuse at Healthcare Facilities in Liberia
Monrovia — Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, has launched a five-year community healthcare initiative to reduce “disrespect and abuse” at healthcare facilities, something health experts say causes serious mortality and morbidity among mothers and their children.
The initiative is a US$25 million project for both Liberia and Tanzania. It is funded by the USAID under the New Partnerships Initiative (NPI). The budget for the Liberia portion of this award is estimated at $9 million for five years.
Speaking during the launch at the Belle Casa Hotel in Sinkor Tuesday, the Chief of Party for Americares Community Partnership for Respect Care Mr. David Prettyman said for the coming five years the implementing partners include Americares, Georgetown University, Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) and the Christian Health Association of Liberia. They are going to partner with healthcare facilities to reduce disrespect and abuse, and improve the health care that providers give to women and children.
“It is a five-year project that is going to contribute to the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality. One way of doing that is to work with healthcare facilities to address the issue of disrespect and abuse at healthcare facilities and by healthcare providers,” Mr. Prettyman said.
He added: “The project is now focusing on Montserrado County. We think after we get some results, perhaps, we can go to other parts of Liberia.”
The project, according to Mr. Prettyman, will focus on private healthcare facilities, especially with the faith-based health facilities and, if successful, the model may later be extended to the public healthcare facilities.
“The agreement we had with our donor is we are going to work with the private sector because USAID which is supporting the project is working similarly within the public healthcare facilities,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah stressed the need for the project, adding that people always complain about the unruly behavior of health practitioners around the country.
“So, the respectful care partnership will make a difference in the private healthcare facilities and some days they will extend to the public health center so that we can be able to change things,” Dr. Jallah said.
Health Minister added: “Customer service is something that is learned, and so, maybe we have not taken out our time to teach about customer service.”
She said the act of Americares reaching out to healthcare facilities and training healthcare provider how to take care of people properly will boost the health sector.
“So, I think through this partnership, healthcare providers will know that taking care of people is like a business and if you don’t do well people don’t return,” she said.
According to Dr. Jallah, when she first took over as Minister, she planned that by 2022, there should be some changes in maternal and newborn mortality.
She said, “It still not late, we can still work together to change those numbers, but we have to work in a collaborative function. We have to know the cause of maternal and neonatal mortality in Liberia.”
Dr. Jallah added: “So, with the power vested in me, I will like to launch this community partnership for respectful care that will start with private and later on hopefully can be extended to public healthcare facilities.”