Grand Bassa County Superintendent Levi Demah has appealed to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Liberia Mission for logistical support to enable his office join the county’s medical team to contribute to the development of a fit for purpose, productive and motivated health workforce through pre-service education institutions to strengthen efforts aimed at improving health services and reducing maternal and newborn deaths.
Supt. Demah’s appeal was contained in his extemporaneous remarks over the weekend at the program marking the formal handover of six vehicles, medical equipment and supplies to health facilities including the Registered Midwifery (RM) and Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) programs, among them the Monrovia-based Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA); Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences in Ganta, Nimba County; as well as United Methodist University (UMU) and the Mother Patten College of Health Sciences, both in Montserrado County.
Other beneficiaries included Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery in Zorzor, Lofa County; Phebe Paramedical Training Program of Phebe in Bong County; and the Deanna K. Isaacson School of Midwifery, formally the Midwifery Training Program for the Southeastern Region, located in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
Demah also appealed to USAID to extend the assistance to the other counties in the country, who did not benefit from the first donated batch of vehicles and medical supplies, so they can use those facilities to join the fight against maternal and newborn deaths.
Authorities at the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday benefited from the two donations the USAID has provided for the Maternal and Child Survival Program’s (MCSP) Restoration of Health Services (RHS) and the Human Resources for Health MCSP-HRH Projects.
The donations accordingly included six vehicles for MCSP support pre-service institutions in the country and a consignment of essential medical equipment targeting 30 health facilities in Grand Bassa and 17 facilities in Lofa County.
Acting USAID mission director Mervyn Farroe said the donations signify USAID’s commitment to support the MOH’s efforts to address some critical equipment and supply needs as well as contribute to the development of a fit for purpose productive and motivated health workforce through the strengthening of pre-service education institutions and efforts aimed at improving health services and reducing maternal and newborn deaths. The cost of the items is put at over US$50,000.
Anne Fiedler, Chief of Party (COP) for the MCSP-RHS Projects, explained that the program is one of USAID’s global programs operating in 26 countries including Liberia to ensure that all women, newborns and children who are in need have equitable access to quality healthcare services to save lives.
In Liberia, Madam Fiedler said, the MCSP program and the Human Resource for Health and the Restoration of Health Services programs are designed to strengthen the performance of the health workforce, and improve services delivery.
She said the three programs aim to also strengthen the capacity and resilience of Liberia’s front line health workforce to address second order impacts from the Ebola crisis and to provide quality, safe and respectful services, and further support the MOH’s health workforce program.
The Human Resources for Health Program, Madam Fiedler said, focuses on strengthening pre-service education for medical laboratory technicians and registered midwives in building a fit for purpose productive and motivated health workforce that can provide quality services.
“The program works to increase the quality of instruction and to strengthen the learning environment at six targeted pre-service training institutions and clinical teaching sites in Montserrado, Bong, Grand Gedeh, and Lofa counties,” she said.
She said the project aims to restore confidence in the healthcare system by upgrading infection prevention and control practices critical for fighting Ebola and other infectious diseases, and ensuring the restoration of quality, integrated Reproductive, Maternal, Child, Newborn and Adolescent Health (RMCNAH) services in 77 target health facilities in Grand Bassa, Lofa and Nimba counties.
Key activities for the project are to ensure continuous improved performance of health workers through training, supportive supervision, mentoring and coaching; payment of health workers’ incentives; procurement of infection prevention and control supplies; procurement of medical supplies; and renovation or construction of water waste and triage elements at health facilities.
Dr. Catherine Cooper, Assistant Health Minister for Curative Services, who proxied for Minister Bernice Dahn, cautioned those who signed for the vehicles to maintain them by using each one for the intended purpose.
Each of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to USAID and its Liberia implementing partners for the donations.