Monrovia, 6th December 2018: The Ministry of Health has successfully convened the 10th Annual National Health Review Conference in Monrovia. The three- day conference held at the Paynesville City Hall, brought together officials and staff from the Ministry of Health, Parliamentarians, County Superintendents, County Health Officers, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-based Organizations, sectoral ministries, media groups and a wide range of health development partners to review and document the health sector performance in fiscal year 2017/2018.
Under the theme “Making Universal Health Coverage a Reality: Reversing the Trend in Maternal and Neonatal Mortality, a National Call to Action”, the 10th Annual Health Review Conference provided an open forum to review the progress that has been made and challenges encountered during the implementation of the Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System (2015-2021) and the National Health Plan and Policy (2010-2021). Participants at the conference warned of the need to be ever-vigilant, noting that significant challenges remain, including Liberia’s unacceptable high maternal mortality rate and the high prevalence of other diseases in the country. Of critical concern was the need for attention to address the mental health needs of Liberians, a situation that needs sustained action to improve mental health and wellbeing. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying those critical challenges and bottlenecks that are major obstacles to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the country. Following careful deliberations of the issues, a resolution was evolved on the way forward in accelerating the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
Making remarks at the conference, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, described health partners as being instrumental in providing technical and financial support to the sector which has resulted to significant gains that have been achieved in the face of daunting challenges. “Maybe we need to have a mid-year review of what we are doing so by the time we come to the end of the year we will have more good news than ever before,” she said. The Minister also stressed that, since the end of the Ebola outbreak, the government has taken important steps towards building a resilience health sector and that the Government is committed to continuing this trend. Ending her remarks, she reminded the participants that health is the number one pillar in the National Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), adding that good health gives power to the people.
In his remarks, Dr. Mesfin G. Zbelo, the WHO Acting Representative to Liberia congratulated the Government of Liberia for its continued and relentless efforts to meet the health needs of its citizens and residents. He noted, in particular, the Government’s commitment to providing quality health care for all Liberians, including those in remote and hard-to-reach communities. Also making remarks during the conference, Senator (Dr.) Peter S. Coleman, Chairperson, Liberian Senate Health Committee, said he is hopeful that appropriate solutions will be found to mitigate the challenges confronting the healthcare system of the country.
Representatives of private and Faith-based organizations, international and national non-governmental organizations, USAID and the Center for Disease Control in Liberia also made remarks at the 10th Annual Health Review Conference.
The 10th Annual Health Review Conference was concluded on December 6th, 2018 with the presentation of certificates to the five best performing counties which had met targets of major indicators set by the Ministry of Health. Among the 15 counties, Bong County was recognized for registering a dramatic improvement in the provision of health services to residents of the county. Another highlight of the conference was the recognition and certification of the 15 best performing health workers from the 15 counties. Additionally, the Ministry used the occasion to launch two important National Documents: the Liberia Every Newborn Action Plan and the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Empowerment Strategy.