A brutal civil war followed by a deadly Ebola outbreak decimated the health system in Liberia. Americares responded to the civil war with emergency shipments of medicine and supplies.
The organization then supported the country’s fight against the Ebola outbreak by 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 making a longer term commitment in the region to build the capacity of the health system to meet future health crises.
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, at one point there was approximately 1 physician for every 100,000 people. 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.
As part of our 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. Watch what happens in this story of a community with a thriving local health center.
Another major goal for community health 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. And we continue to expand programs for health workers such as the latest initiative to train health workers in fistula surgery, community outreach and education – building on Americares work in Tanzania with Bugando Medical Centre.