Partners In Health inducts 135 community health promoters
By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
The Maryland County Health Team in collaboration with Partners In Health Liberia (PIH) has inducted 135 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) to serve in 19 urban communities in Maryland as part of an ongoing pilot program.
The ceremony was held in Kpafloville community, Harper district on Thursday, January 20, 2022, bringing together local authorities of the county, including county health officer Dr. Methodist George.
Speaking to reporters during the ceremony, the director of community health programs Lassana Jabateh said, globally there are several challenges in the health system and to address some of them, they have thought it wise to implement programs that would help the community dwellers get access to health care.
He said despite the need for qualified workforce in the sector specifically college graduates, it would take time, so in order to meet urgent health needs of patients, they have decided to train some community dwellers that will in return help their communities to have access to health services.
He disclosed that the Community Health Promoters (CHPs) will serve communities within 5 kilometers of the nearest health facility where approximately 71 percent of Liberians reside.
He said nominees from Philadelphia, Tubman University Community, Kpafloville, Bishop Hill, New Harper, Burger Hill, Easy Town, Airfield, Lake Shepherd, Lama Cox, Stadium Road, Middle Cess, Central Harper, Old Kru Town/Up Cape, Waa Hodo Town, Big Town, Nenkangbo, Marsh Street and Bassa Communities respectively have been trained to serve as agents of Social Change and Social Connection with funding from the Samuel Family Foundation from 2018 to 2021.
He recalled that in 2018, the Ministry of Health’s Community Health Services Division (CHSD) designed an integrated community health framework that serves residents within and beyond 5 kilometers to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) and narrow the health equity gap for Liberia’s most vulnerable populations.
With the Maryland County Health Team and Partners In Health serving as early adopters, they have already piloted the Ministry’s new integrated community health framework in order to provide services to citizens across the county, who work 5kms to come to hospital.
He said per statistics, Liberia has 20 percent of its population living out of 5km and 71 percent within 5km and so since 2016, the country has been serving community dwellers that live out of the 5km.
Director Jabateh said in order to buttress the government’s efforts, PIH has started to collaborate with government to reduce health cases in the county.
However, he disclosed that the 135 Community Health Promoters are not to treat patients but rather to educate them on the need to seek health care at the nearby hospital.
He stressed that the training wasn’t about curative services but to prevent and promote health services through community awareness.
For his part, County Health Officer Dr. Methodius George noted that the Community Health Promoters will serve as a boost to the community, noting that health awareness starts from the community level.
He said they will help to identify common illnesses in communities and make urgent referrals to health facilities which will increase patients’ attendance at health facilities.
Dr. George noted that prior to the training, many community dwellers weren’t aware or never took advantage of services at various health facilities in the county, but with the CHP program, information will reach out to the people in their various homes.
He further noted that despite trained doctors and nurses in the health facilities, many patients are still sitting home, receiving home treatment.
He pointed out that it has been a major challenge for the health facility, but is optimistic with the recruitment of community health promoters, the issue of home-based treatment will minimize.
He added that the 135 health promoters were trained for three months to help identify cases such as HIV and AIDS, TB, EPI and promote community health services.
Meanwhile, the inductees have lauded the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Partner In Health for the knowledge provided them, pledging to use their skills to help community dwellers take advantage of health facilities at their disposal.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/partners-in-health-renovates-pharmacy-at-jj-dossen-hospital/ Editing by Jonathan Browne