Liberia Faces “TRIPLE-BURDEN” Disease Dilemma

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Public health entities operating in the country have received an SOS (save our souls) call from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, (MOHSW).

The Ministry’s ‘call-to-arms’ (battle cry) was issued on Friday, November 1, at a local resort in Sinkor, when Assistant Minister for Preventive Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, launched a new, private health community-based organization: Public Health Initiative Liberia, (PHIL) in the country.

The Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW), Att’y Tolbert Nyenswah, used the occasion to announce that Liberia faces what he called “triple-burden diseases” and has appealed to health partners and others to help minimize and contain the triple menace.

Asst. Minister Nyenswah, said the triple scourge, non-communicable diseases, reproductive diseases, and new-born and maternal health diseases, as the major diseases that are overwhelmingly (attacking) our people.

Infectious diseases include malaria, Tuberculosis, (TB) HIV and AIDS, Measles, Diarrhea, and a few others.

The second set of the triple-burden diseases, according to Minister Nyenswah, is non-communicable diseases which, hospital records say, are on the rise. They comprise hypertension, (high blood-pressure) heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc.

The final category is composed of Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child-health (RMNCH) diseases.

The Asst. Health Minister said that though the MOH&SW has put in place a national health strategy and plan that would help curtail these diseases, there is still a need for more community-based health organization’s to help to augment (add to) and upgrade various public health services.

Also speaking was the executive director of the new health based organization—PHIL.

Madam Joyce L. Kilikpo Jarwolo said her organization is aimed at promoting and enhancing quality health care delivery system in the community.

Madam Jarwolo has called on the Government—through the MOH&SW—to take steps to improve various health sectors in the country as well as collaborate with local partners in the health sector.

The issues of accountability and transparency are among key challenges that the Government and its development partners face in the health sector, she indicated.

“So PHIL has come to touch a wide variety of reform initiatives in that sector of our country,” the PHIL executive director indicated.

PHIL has outlined some of the major programs that it will be involved with, including community-based services, research and advocacy, water and sanitation and health hygiene promotion as well as accountability in the health care delivery system of Liberia.

“Our programs are designed to contribute towards the achievement of the Government national health policy and the ten-year health plan, as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” Madam Jarwolo underscored.

She added that PHIL will work with the Government of Liberia and its WASH partners to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices using innovative approaches aimed at improving the lives of citizens.

The Public Health Initiative-Liberia is a newly established health organization by Liberian health professionals who graduated from the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County, with the aim of buttressing this nation’s health problems.

The Public Health Initiative Liberia (PHIL) was conceived in 2011.  

(With an assist from Keith Neville A. Best)

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