John Snow Research and Training, Incorporated (JSI) recently concluded a one-day post Ebola national learning conference for partners and stakeholders at a resort in Monrovia.
JSI Research and Training Institute is executing United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s funded Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services (ETP&SS) program in the country.
The ETP & SS has since January 2017, supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) to reduce the risk of resurgence of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia.
The program, according to ETP&SS Chief of Party (CoP), Dr. Rose Jallah Macauley, actively works in four priority counties, including Bong, Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba, where over 90 percent of Ebola survivors reside.
She said the program has also provided limited support to additional seven counties where Ebola survivors are currently residing.
The conference, according to Dr. Macauley was intended to share results and lessons learned from the project, and discuss further the progress that has been made in the country’s health systems and survivors care, since the project began.
She said health workers in all the 11 Ebola affected counties are not better equipped to treat the health conditions of survivors, rather refer them to specialty care due to the clinician training and mentorship conducted by the ETP&SS and partners.
According to Dr. Macauley, focus counties also received specialized training in ophthalmology (eye care), rheumatology, and psychiatry, which are not widely available in Liberia.
USAID Acting Health Director, Jessica Healey said the organization funded ETP&SS program overall goal was to facilitate the implementation of the Government of Liberia’s Ebola Survivors Care and Support Policy, which include the coordination and management of Ebola survivor activities through the National Ebola Survivor Secretariat and the National Ebola Survivor’s Network.
She said other objectives were to improve access for Ebola survivors to necessary health services and medicines through health facilities that care for Ebola survivors to reduce stigma and discrimination and as well strengthen and build public capacity to provide necessary, specialized health services to care for common complications.
Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah lauded USAID’s contributions to the country’s health system, particularly with the EVD’s survivor services.
“Your commitment to Liberia before, during and after the Ebola epidemic is extraordinary,” she told the partners.
Dr. Jallah said the USAID’s Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services program worked tirelessly to coordinate survivor care support the ministry to operationalize the Ebola Survivor Care Policy and makes it come to life.
The program, she said also provided support for medical specialists to provide long-term training and service delivery and as well supported mental health.
Minister Jallah also noted that under the ETP&SS program, health facility staffs were trained on how to use and properly maintain much needed equipment.
According to her, the program is also carrying out key health infrastructure renovations across the country.
Patrick Farley, Head of the National Ebola Survivor Network of Liberia (NESNL), lauded USAID for funding the ETP&SS program.
He outlined the programs many contributions to the network, including the sponsoring of its recent gathering in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Farley meanwhile, called for the extension of the program to at least two more years.
The conference was attended by the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis N. Kateh, Tolbert Nyenswah, Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and Professor Dr. Robert Kpoto.