PACS Trains 1,500 Community Health Volunteers to Enhance Infectious Disease Surveillance

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The Partnership for Advancing Community-based Services (PACS) project, in collaboration with authorities at the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), has recruited and trained nearly 1,500 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in Lofa, Nimba and Bong counties on early detection, reporting and referral of infectious disease triggers to boost community surveillance, a release has said.

PACS funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), works with the MoH/NPHIL and county health teams (CHTs) to build the capacity of the CHVs in 21 health districts in the three counties.

The training sessions were facilitated by CHT staff at both district and county levels supported by the PACS county teams, and monitored by MOH/NPHIL staff from the national level.

The trainings, according to the release, were rolled-out in phases in January and February this year. The PACS project provides technical and financial support to improve reporting of priority diseases, and events through the Community Event-Based Surveillance (CEBS) system.

“This is achieved through strengthened infectious disease surveillance and response (IDSR) reporting capacity and logistics support complemented by regular supportive supervision to the CHVs,” the release said.

During the Ebola outbreak, the MOH and its partners developed the CEBS system to strengthen the country’s surveillance and response capabilities. CEBS was useful in identifying and reporting emerging clusters of EVD transmission, which led to more rapid case confirmation and provision of care, reducing and ultimately ending the spread of Ebola. Having been shown to be an effective mechanism during the national EVD response, the MOH/NPHIL continues to work to strengthen CEBS and apply it to other infectious disease triggers.

The PACS project is implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in collaboration with Population Services International (PSI), Global Communities, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Liberia, and five local civil society organizations.

Since 2015, PACS has supported the MOH to implement the National Community Health Assistant Program in the USAID’s three priority counties.

PACS also provides technical and operational support to the Ministry of Public Works increase the availability of safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities.

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