USAID, JSI Host Post Ebola Learning Confab

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Dr. Macauley (L) with partners including Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh.

Participants share lessons learned

John Snow Research and Training, Incorporated (JSI) on Thursday, June 28, concluded a one-day post-Ebola national learning conference for partners and stakeholders at a resort in Monrovia.

JSI Research and Training Institute is executing a USAID(United States Agency for International Development)-funded Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services (ETP&SS) program in the country.

The ETP&SS has since January 2017 supported the Ministry of Health (MoH), to reduce the risk of a resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia.

The program, according to ETP&SS Chief of Party (CoP) Dr. Rose Jallah Macauley, actively works in four priority counties, including Bong, Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba, where over 90 percent of Ebola survivors reside.

She said that the program has also provided limited support to additional seven counties where Ebola survivors are currently residing.

Yesterday’s conference, according to Dr. Macauley, was intended to share results and lessons learned from the project, and discuss further the progress that has been made in the country’s healthcare and survivor’s system since the project began.

She said that health workers in all the 11 Ebola-affected counties are not better equipped to treat the health conditions of survivors. Rather, they refer them to specialty care due to the clinician training and mentorship conducted by the ETP&SS and partners.

According to Macauley, counties focused on also received specialized training in ophthalmology (eye care), rheumatology, and psychiatry, which are not widely available in Liberia.

USAID Acting Health Director Jessica Healey said the ETP&SS program’s overall goal was to facilitate the implementation of the Government of Liberia’s Ebola Survivors Care and Support Policy, which include the coordination and management of Ebola survivors’ activities through the National Ebola Survivor Secretariat and the National Ebola Survivor’s Network.

She said that other objectives were to improve access for Ebola survivors to acquire necessary health services and medicines through health facilities that care for Ebola survivors, to reduce stigma and discrimination as well as strengthen and build public capacity to provide necessary, specialized health services to care for common complications.

Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah lauded USAID’s contributions to the country’s healthcare system, particularly with the EVD’s survivor services. “Your commitment to Liberia before, during and after the Ebola epidemic is extraordinary,” she told the partners.

Dr. Jallah said that the USAID’s Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services program worked tirelessly to coordinate survivors’ care and support the ministry to operationalize the Ebola Survivor Care Policy and make it come to life.

The program, she said, also provided support for medical specialists to provide long-term training and service delivery as well as support mental health. Jallah also noted that under the ETP&SS program, health facility staffs were trained on how to use and properly maintain much needed equipment.

According to her, the program is also carrying out key health infrastructure renovations across the country.

Patrick Faley, Head of the National Ebola Survivor Network of Liberia (NESNL), lauded USAID for funding the ETP&SS program.

He outlined the program’s many contributions to the network, including the sponsoring of its recent gathering in Buchana, Grand Bassa County.

Faley meanwhile called for the extension of the program to at least two more years.

Yesterday’s ceremony was attended by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis N. Kateh, Tolbert Nyenswah, director, National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and Prof. Dr. Robert Kpoto.

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