MoH Concludes Health Conference
-Min. Dahn Gives Progress Report
The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Wednesday December 6, 2017 opened its 9th annual review Health Conference in Monrovia under the theme” The Health Sector In Retrospect: Setting the Stage for Universal Health Coverage in Liberia.” The three Day Conference brought together Stakeholders, including national and International non-Governmental Representatives, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Superintendent Council of Liberia, the World Bank, World Health Organization and Faith-based organizations, among others; the conference ended on December 8, 2017.
Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, lauding partners, health professionals and all attendees, said Liberia has been through multiple stages of emergency and recovery, adding that it time for sustainability.
“We have come a long way since 2006 when we were just emerging from a protracted civil war and were early in the rebuilding stages.” Dr. Dahn said.
According to her, Liberia was in desperate need of everything, including healthcare, professionals, equipment and facilities; Min. Dahn, however confirmed that the country’s health system was about 80 percent managed and funded by international partners, although conditions of health workers were not encouraging during the period referred.
She noted during that period, there fewer than 50 doctors and 200 facilities throughout the country, adding that the national healthcare policy was a five page document without an operational plan.
Dr. Dahn, recalled that in 2007, the Ministry introduced “2007 to 2011 National Health and Social Welfare Plan and Policy” which, according to her, brought forth the basic package of Health Services.
She pointed out that the basic package was designed to impact the rebuilding of health system holistically and its central pillar was to decentralize managerial functions to county level.
Dr. Dahn noted that the 2007 Plan also charged the Government of Liberia with meeting standards that called for 15 percent of government’s spending to be dedicated to healthcare.
She disclosed that in 2011, the National Health and Social Welfare Plan was updated for 2011-2021 and the basic Package was expanded into the established package which was focused on shifting from emergency to recovery.
“In 2012, we were able to celebrate many successes and our facilities had increased to more than 600 and we now had more than 200 deliverables and we achieved Millennium Development Goal 4. Our health care workforce was growing and delivering needed services for everyone.” She indicated.
Meanwhile, Min. Dahn lamented that unfortunately, in 2014, Ebola crisis caused the death of almost 5,000 Liberians and eroded many gains, causing the health sector a major setback but learned that they must strengthen the system for emergency preparedness and response.