Liberia Faces Increasing NCDI Injury Burden
-MOH Survey Report
A Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Stakeholders in the health sector as well as its Partners has revealed that as Liberia’s population of 4.2 million recovers from the consequences of a series of civil wars (1989-2003) and the devastating Ebola viral disease outbreak (2014-2015) that took away several thousand lives (including health care workers), Liberia is now presented with new challenges in responding to the threat of Liberia’s increasing non-communicable disease and injury (NCDI) burden.The report said in spite of gains made in addressing maternal health and communicable diseases, the rapid rise in NCDIs in Liberia is imposing great strain on our health system.
According to the Report, as a result of past disruptions, our systems and processes supporting the various sectors of our society were severely weakened. Yet in the health sector, we are strengthening our systems, with indicators pointing to humble but progressive improvement of health care services.
The report noted that despite World Health Organization’s (WHO) reports that NCDs account for the 71% of deaths worldwide, NCDs and injuries were entirely left out of the Millennium Development Goals.
The 2015 Summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held promise though, finally recognizing the NCDI burden as a major challenge for sustainable development in the 21st century and adopting NCDs as one of the key SDG targets to address in the ensuing fifteen years
The report said that to achieve these targets, concerted efforts are needed, with contribution of all disciplines and sectors nationally and support from civil society and global partners.
The Report indicated that with much work still ahead, the Liberian Ministry of Health (MOH) is taking significant steps to meet global NCDI goals. Under a newly established NCD Division, strategic instruments to guide and regulate Liberia’s national response to the disease burden are being developed.
The National NCD Policy and Strategic Plan (2016-2021) were launched and additional guiding policies, such as a National Cancer Policy and Radiation Guidelines, are nearing completion.
The Report also said that, Clinical protocols are also being drafted, promising to offer needed guidance in provider’s clinical training and enhance the quality of care delivery in NCDI management.
As severe, chronic conditions, the Report stressed that, NCDIs require significant investment by the patient, family, and society. Yet with 50.9 % of Liberia’s population living in absolute poverty, as the 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) demonstrates that interventions are often financially out of reach for our people.
The Report disclosed that the MOH is proud to have constituted a group in partnership with the global Lancet Commission on Reframing NCDs and Injuries for the Poorest Billion to highlight Liberia’s experience in responding to the rising global scourge of NCDIs. Under the leadership
of Dr. Fred Amegashie (MoH) and Dr. Jason Beste (PIH), the Liberia No communicable Disease and Injury (NCDI) Poverty Commission has worked throughout 2017 to gather information to show the country’s NCD burden and intervention profile.
Report furthered that Liberia No communicable Disease and Injury (NCDI) Poverty Commission report doubles as a critical baseline assessment and advocacy tool for the type of services requiring investment.
“I implore all local and international partners to thoroughly peruse the document with the purpose of contributing to the alleviation of the NCDI burden on our population” Report pointed out.
The Report indicated that, in 2016, NCDIs constituted an estimated 37.9% of Liberia’s total disease burden and 43.4% of all deaths.
“From our Commission’s findings, we see that increasing the percentage of our national health expenditure allocated to NCDs from the current 12% to 20% will reduce yearly premature deaths by 1,300 by the year 2030. As the Ministry of Health, we recognize the opportunity for action described in this report and are committed to do our part” the Report Noted.