Cllr. Tolbert G. Nyenswah, Director General, National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), made a strong case for Liberia’s Health System at the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research that took place in Liverpool, England, from October 8 – 12, 2018, a release has said.
According to the release from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the conference was hosted under the theme, “Advancing Health Systems for All in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) ERA.”
Cllr. Nyenswah, who spoke on the topic, “Multisectoral Transnational Strategies to Progress for the SDGs: establishing a dialogue between Europe and Africa,” highlighted the progress made in Liberia in rebuilding the health system by building resilience in epidemic preparedness and response, post-Ebola, through the NPHIL, and collaborating with the MoH.
The Institute is committed to promoting healthy outcomes by preventing, rapidly detecting and controlling public health threats through evidence-based research and expertise.
The 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (2018) was organized by Health Systems Global, a membership-based society which aims to convene researchers, policymakers and implementer from around the world to develop the field of health systems research. It grew out of a growing need to focus on the health system’s performance in low- and middle-income countries..
Professor Asha George, Chair of Health Systems Global, said during a period in which global advances are threatened by climate change, faltering aid commitments, and tightening of borders, “the SDGs remind us that human progress relies on action from all sectors. It is not just about working in health, but tackling pollution, supporting refugees, and building and maintaining public infrastructure.”
George said there is a need for health systems to look beyond the provision of care to address challenges, such as emerging infections, chronic conditions, and the mass movement of people that requires new ways of working across disease programs and across sectors as well as new mechanisms of governance to support this.
Using the most recent yellow fever outbreak in Grand Kru County and the meningococcal disease outbreaks in Sinoe and Lofa counties in 2017 as case studies, Nyenswah said, “Liberia is 10 times more prepared than it was before the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak that infected an estimated 11,000 Liberians, of which almost 5,000 died. This preparedness must be sustained.”
Cllr. Nyenswah said that in the past 19 months, NPHIL has leveraged partnerships to mobilize financial and technical resources that have trained over 200 field epidemiologists that are currently assigned in 93 health districts in the country.
He noted that a state-of-the-art public health infrastructure and reference laboratory is being built in Monrovia as well as a regional reference laboratory in Gbarnga, Bong County.