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GeneralHealthLiberia news

WHO, MOH hold Community Health Workers Symposium

A delegation of seven hundred Community Health Workers from 46 countries is in Liberia to participate in the ongoing third edition of the Community Health Worker (CHW) symposium Monday, 20 March 2023. 

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health in partnership With the World Health Organization (WHO), African Center for Disease Control, USAID and Golden Touch Corporation (GTC), among others, has gathered the delegates at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.

According to a press release, hosting the third International Community Health Workers Symposium is reward of Liberia’s bid on 29 June 2020 to the Health System Global (HSG), Community Health Workers summit.

The symposium is held under the theme: “Advancing Community Health Worker Programs to Build Resilient and Equitable Health Systems that Accelerate Primary Health Care for Universal Health Coverage.”

The symposium will begin Monday, 20 March and continue up to 24 March, 2023 with two days’ pre-conference and three days’ main event activities. 

The symposium is held every two years with the intention to provide an opportunity for advocacy for the host country and other nations for investment into their Community Health Programs and the health system in general.

It also seeks to provide the needed technical assistance to some member states to expand Community Health Programs on the continent.

The program is also expected to bring together high level diplomatic guests and government official as well as community health workers and developmental partners.

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Monday and Tuesday are considered as pre-conference days where delegates will be presenting their posture and presentation from their various countries.

It is meant to enable Liberia and other countries to learn the best healthcare practices to see how the country can coordinate and collaborate with what other countries are doing.

Also, on Wednesday this week, former Liberian President Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Champion of the Community Health Workers, will be remarking at the program to provide recommendations and tactics to healthcare providers. 

Other speakers from the United States, USAID, UNICEF among others, will be giving experience and knowledge on how they see community health workers and where they need to go.

On Thursday, there will be a delegate from the office of President George Manneh Weah who will make a remark on behalf of the government and the country. 

On the same day, there will be an entertainment and filed tour to expose the international delegates to the country.

Finally, on Friday, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor will officially launch Liberia’s Community Health Workers Policy. 

At the end of the Community Health Symposium, the Community Health Action Plan is expected to be launched here.

Speaking at a joint Press conference Sunday, 19 March 2023 at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said she was excited to host for the first time, the Community Health Workers Symposium.

According to her, the Government of Liberia and it’s partners are fully prepared and ready to kick-start the initiative Monday.

Dr. Jallah further stated that the conference has registered over 700 delegates both in and outside the country.

She pointed out that the delegates are from 46 countries, as well as high level officers from UN agencies, the Africa Center for Disease Control, developmental partners, community health champions, community health workers, and researcher from missions especially, USAID. 

“We want to use this time and medium as a government to express our profound gratitude to all of our health partners, especially to Health System Global, USAID, the Global Fund, World Bank, the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, Last Mile Health, IRC, UNICEF, CHAL, Partner in Health and the Community Health Road Map for all your initial financial and technical support to this event,” she said.

“We also would like to thank the Golden Touch Corporation (GTC) for working closely with us in planning this auspicious event,” she concluded.

Also making a brief statement at the press briefing, Mariah Subah, Country Director, Last Mile Health, noted that her institution was very privileged to form part of the symposium.

She said it was important to stress on the importance of community health workers, considering what has happened in the country in term of the pandemic.

Making statement, Dr. Denis Muhoza, UNICEF/ West and Central Africa Regional Health Office Specialist, said he was excited to gather with hundreds of others to talk about community health program.

He acknowledged it as the pillar of the health system of Liberia, adding that community program is pivotal in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

For her part, Jessica Healey, USAID/ Liberia’ Health Director said the team from Washington DC, USA was excited to join the conference in Monrovia. She said the gathering is about learning and sharing on how to build the global movement of community health workers. 

Nazo Kureshy, Senior Community Health System Advisor, Bureau for Global Health, USAID as well as Dr. Galina Abdu, UNICEF/ Liberia Health Specialist were part of the press briefing.–Press release

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