By Rochelle Richards (intern)
The Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Montserrado county Health Team with its implementing partner, International Rescue committee (IRC) with funding support from the GIZ Liberia, has launched the Montserrado County Supporting Referrals and Community Linkages with the Integrated Severe Infections Treatment Unit (InSITU) program project.
The project is parts of effort to build a vibrant health sector.
The project, which was officially launched recently at the Du-port Road Health center in Paynesville to “consolidate and transfer the experience,” gained during the Ebola crisis from a range of external and local actors, directly supporting the County Health Teams (CHTs) that the Ministry of Health (MoH) will evaluate,
Amend, and Operationalize EPR plans to effectively lead Epidemic response; Strengthen Community Resilience through engagement around Epidemic response planning; as representatives from key sectors were present including the Ministry of Health (MOH), National public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).
Launching the project un-behalf of the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, the Director of Healthcare Quality Management Unit at the MOH, Dr. Ngormbu Ballah indicated that the launching of the InSITU program project is laudable, something he said is worthwhile undertaking project that will help the MOH in moving the Healthcare delivery forward.
According to Dr. Ballah, the importance of referral or communities leakages could not be overemphasized, as the community is the heartbeat of the country. Healthcare practitioners or policy makers that want to succeed in healthcare delivery have to be a very good friend to the community, he said.
“When the community is unwilling to cooperate with you, you are not going to achieve your goal or anything. If you even decide to do contact tracing, you will not achieve it. That’s why I think if we start our healthcare delivery at the level of the community, we are very likely to succeed,” Dr. Ballah added.
“Early referral is one thing we have to consider. As we work with the community, we should also be thinking about how we can get our patients from the community to places that they can go and be kept for care or for testing,” he said. Dr. Ballah then stressed the need for the government to take ownership of the project in order for it to be sustainable.
Earlier, IRC Liberia Country, Faith Akovi Cooper, said that the IRC-Liberia country program has developed a dynamic and effective working relationship with the Redemption Hospital in recent years, including supporting the restoration of health services at the Hospital following the closure during the Ebola epidemic.
According to Madam Cooper, throughout 2016, the IRC led the OFDA- funded Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) Consortium, which supported all 15 country Health Teams and the MOH to improve their EPR systems through a nationally coordinated, yet county-tailored strategy, to strengthen the technical and operational capacity of the County and District Health Teams.
She then added that, with globalization and increasingly interconnected communities, everyone is at risk with no exceptions when it comes infectious diseases.