The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health, will today begin the hosting of the much anticipated International Community Health Workers (CHW) Symposium.
Around 700 delegates from forty-three countries representing every continent will be present today at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
The week-long 3rd international CHW symposium is expected to run from March 20-24, 2023.
Addressing journalists on Sunday, March 19, ahead of the symposium, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah told journalists that community health workers are people who come exactly from within the community, especially those who have been trained to take care of patients at the community level.
She added, “We all know that there are about one million plus people that live far away from our nearest health facilities within Liberia.”
Jallah explained that the theme for the symposium is “Advancing Community Health Worker Programs to Build Resilient and Equitable Health Systems that Accelerate Primary Healthcare for Universal Health Coverage.”
She said the objective of this third edition of the International CHW Symposium is to foster countries’ learning, exchange, and action through engagement with their delegates.
Jallah also disclosed that they will also be showcasing countries experienced with integrating, adopting, skilling, and optimizing community health workers and community-based outreach programs for high-quality, equitable primary healthcare.
“We want to amplify community health workers’ voices. We want to elevate countries’ progress and accelerate political and momentum for professionalizing and institutionalizing community health workers,” she said.
She further indicated that they want to also strengthen accountability and governance by prioritizing measurement and harmonizing the existing matrix to monitor progress toward institutionalizing the community health worker program.
Jallah stated, “We want to also leverage on new emerging evidence, best practices, and partnerships to share innovation and strengthen community health workers’ skills and the systems that support them.”
She continued, “This 3rd International CHW Symposium is critical and will be built on the Astana Declaration (2019), the African Union’s call for 2 million community health workers (2020), the on-going global conversation around pandemic preparedness and response, the previous two CHW Symposia (Uganda 2017 and Bangladesh 2019), and the institutionalizing of Community Health Conferences (ICHC 2017 and 2021).”
Minister Jallah indicated that the approach to the main event will be guided by a global agenda that focuses on global best practices exchange, community health financing, CHW program institutionalization, and emerging evidence and innovations.
She, however, disclosed that during the symposium, there will be an opening ceremony and plenary session followed by a series of corresponding sessions of presentations, panel discussions, and plenaries, as well as marketplaces for poster presentations, institution engagement, sponsorship, and sales by accredited local vendors.
“The event would be climaxed with a closing ceremony followed by an awards night honoring key stakeholders and community health workers from Liberia and other countries,” Minister Jallah said.
Meanwhile, the press conference was attended by partner representatives, including Jessica Healey, USAID Liberia Health Director; Marion Subah, Last Mile Health Country Director; Dr. Denis Muhoza, UNICEF/WCARO Health Specialist; and Halma Abdu, UNICEF Liberia Health Specialist, among others.