— Amb. Kemayah Tells United Nations
Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, says the Government of Liberia (GoL) is on a consistent path to ensuring a sustainable and inclusive process on social development, specifically addressing poverty and inequality, a dispatch from the mission has said.
According to the dispatch, Amb. Kemayah’s comment was contained in a statement he delivered on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at the plenary session of the United Nations Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues (Third Committee).
He said the GoL is institutionalizing policies, programs and legal frameworks to address social development issues, with the aim of leaving no one behind. He made specific reference to the government’s national development agenda–the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Amb. Kemayah said that the PAPD is premised on Power to the People, the Economy and Job Creation, Peace Sustenance and Good Governance and Transparency. He identified social protection as a key aspect to address vulnerabilities and poverty in Liberia.
As evidence of its commitment to ensuring social protection, Kemayah informed the UN that the GoL instituted social safety nets interventions to provide food security and create access to health and education for the most vulnerable.
Amb. Kemayah continued, “The GoL has instituted the social safety nets interventions, which include cash transfer, in-kind food transfer such as school feeding, take-home rations and nutritious supplementary feeding and food distribution as well as general food and utility subsides.
These, he said, have provided food security, facilitated access to health and education for elderly women and children and enabled the working poor to access an improved income and for the youth to acquire entrepreneurial opportunities.”
On the health sector, Kemayah said “The health of the Liberian population takes central stage in the PADP with eight clearly articulated high-level targets, including maternal and child mortality reduction; reduction of malnutrition for children less than five years; expansion of healthcare services to people beyond a radius of five kilometers to the nearest health facilities; consistent provision of medicines and medical supplies to all public health facilities and reducing high out of pocket payment on households.”
He also expressed the government’s commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as demonstrated by efforts towards achieving the Abuja Declaration, which calls for 15 percent of the national budget to be allocated to health.
“It is worth mentioning that the government of President Geroge Weah is very close to achieving this milestone, sitting at 14.3 percent, the highest in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Region,”Amb. Kemayah said.
In furtherance of the government’s commitment, Amb. Kemayah said that the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with development partners, is working to accelerate the UHC Agenda through the development of a Pro-poor for Health; a roadmap to UHC and Health Security– a mechanism intended to provide the marching order for the acceleration of the UHC in Liberia up to 2023.
“It seeks to strengthen the public health system, to reduce the high maternal and neonatal deaths in the country by increasing skilled health workforce, improving technical capacities, including the training of specialized doctors; locally and internationally; expanding health facilities network; while improving existing ones; improving diagnostic services, and ensuring consistent availability of medicines and supplies; and to institute a sustainable health financing program for the country,” Amb. Kemayah said.
He named the strengthening of partnership as key to achieving UHC: “Being cognizant that achieving UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be done in silos, our government continues to galvanize multilateral efforts, collaborate, mobilize resources and share lessons learned and best practices; build partnerships that include Public Private Partnership at global level; and strengthen coordination and alignment at the national level.”
Kemayah hailed the UN Secretary-General’s call to the UN System and its development partners to scale up financial and technical assistance to low and middle-income countries, and support government’s efforts as well as directing international cooperation towards facilitating the mobilization of additional resources to improve the quality of healthcare, education, water and sanitation.