Home Economy Liberia Leads Fight Against Malaria … US President’s Global Program Acknowledges Gains

Liberia Leads Fight Against Malaria … US President’s Global Program Acknowledges Gains

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By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah

MONROVIA: The United States of America’s Global Malaria Coordinator, Dr. David Walton, has commended the Ministry of Health, along with community health workers, for a ‘laudable job’ in the battle to decrease the high rate of malaria infection in West Africa’s oldest republic, Liberia.

Speaking to scores of journalists recently, he noted that Liberia’s success in reducing malaria infection cases, especially for kids below five years, is an accomplishment that should be an example to other countries on the continent.

Dr. Walton: “Compared to what we had in 2005 in terms of people affected with malaria, the number of cases has been cut by more than half in terms of people who are not getting affected with malaria. That is an unbelievable amount of progress made in the fight against malaria infection.”

“There are few countries that have made such progress. Liberia is a leader and should be celebrating and recognizing that. And we from the United States President Global Malaria program believe the main contribution for such progress is the expansion of community health workers,” he added.

He stressed the urgent need for an increased budgetary support to the health sector especially the community health workers on grounds that there are kids in the community who are sick but can’t be taken to hospital due to long distance.

“The hospital sometimes is far away or the family cannot afford their transportation and if there are community health workers in the community, they can diagnose and treat cases quicker and preventing them from getting sicker with malaria,” the US health expert noted.
According to him, the everyday hurdles experienced by health workers in relation to low salary must be recognized by stakeholders with the US global malaria program being of no exception.
He encouraged international partners and local stakeholders to provide a durable means of sustenance to healthcare workers with the primary goal of ensuring they are capacitated to provide quality healthcare delivery services to the vulnerable population.
Said, Dr. Walton, “The community health workers want to feel recognized, they feel they are not being valued, by the lack of good salary and effective training so they want to be recognized as official part of the health care workforce. That is a big challenge in many countries.”
He also assured the US-Government’s commitment in helping Liberia to fully prepare for any future unforeseen health crisis.
“Our goal is to help Liberians improve their health, and the ability for the Ministry of Health to prove a case. I will be using Liberia as an example, particularly our effective foreign assistance is particularly around malaria and COVID-19,” he assured.
“This is a model that can demonstrate a true sense of ability that a country like Liberia can capitalize on foreign assistance and turn it into true dividends for the health care of the people. There are strong lessons we can take from Liberia’s success and apply them to a different system,” Dr. Walton added.
Dr. Walton holds an MD from Harvard Medical School, an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as the first Doris and Howard Hiatt Global Health Equity resident.
Led by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-implemented with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PMI supports 27 partner country programs in sub-Saharan Africa and the Greater Mekong Sub-region in Southeast Asia – accounting for over 80 percent of the world’s malaria burden. Together with global partners and national governments, PMI has helped save 10.6 million lives and prevented 1.7 billion cases of malaria.

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