Our Work in Country
In light of the devastating effect on health care from the 2003 civil war, Americares first responded with emergency shipments to provide access to medicine and supplies. Beginning in mid-2014, Americares supported the country’s fight against the Ebola Virus Outbreak - recruiting staff for and managing one Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia while fully supplying two others. Since that time, Americares has established an in-country staff, office and warehouse to manage programs and distribute aid, while establishing our longer term commitment in the region to build the capacity of the health care system to meet future health crises. The health system, which already had been weakened by years of war, was decimated by Ebola.
Liberia, according to the World Health Organization, has one of the most fragile health infrastructures in the world. With an estimated population of 4.5 million, there is approximately 1 physician for every 19,000 patients. As the Ebola Outbreak infected 372 health care workers and killed 184, health facilities severely reduced services or closed altogether so people living with diseases like malaria and typhoid could not find treatment and expectant mothers were left to give birth at home without trained birth attendants or safe facilities. Liberia has had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Community health begins with the building of a stronger health care delivery system, starting with new mothers and babies.
As part of a longer term program to strengthen a badly weakened and under-resourced health system, Americares is increasing health care access and improving health services for mothers and newborns in Grand Bassa County. The project included facility upgrades (including some construction), equipment, medicines and staff training at three health facilities – one hospital and two clinics. One facility renovation now serves some 15,000 residents in and around Zondo Town in Grand Bassa County with a modern maternal/child clinic.
Another major goal is to train and protect this generation and the next generation of healthcare providers in post-conflict settings. This initiative involves the necessary supplies, equipment, training and safety protocols that will support, protect and sustain health workers in their mission to serve the health needs of their communities –the cornerstone of a thriving health system.