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Global Health

Liberia health
Improving maternal and child health is key to furthering Liberia’s development
Justin Prud'homme/USAID

Liberia’s war years, 1989 to 2003, decimated basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation, electricity, roads, education, and health services – factors that contribute to the spread of disease and premature mortality. GDP per capita is among the lowest in Africa, so people’s ability to pay for health care is extremely limited.

The greatest threat to health is malaria. It is the number one cause of deaths, especially in children under five. Women die in childbirth at one of the highest rates in the world, 994 per 100,000 live births. Forty percent of Liberian children are growth-stunted from poor nutrition and about one-third of those under the age of five years are severely underweight

USAID continues to provide technical and financial support for the implementation of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s 10-year plan. We also continue to ensure further alignment of USAID programs through the Global Health Initiative strategy that focuses on country ownership and integrated health systems for sustainable impact. Our strategy uses a three-tiered approach: 1. Nationwide investments in Ministry of Health and Social Welfare capacity building and technical assistance for policy formulation, strategy development, and systems strengthening – including management and oversight capacity. 2. Intensive investments in three target counties (Bong, Nimba, Lofa) for facility and community-based services, County Health & Social Welfare Teams skill building, introducing global best practices, and piloting innovative interventions providing evidence to inform national policies and strategies. This new geographic focus is closely orchestrated with other donors to maintain nationwide coverage of Essential Package of Health Services while improving efficiency through economies of scale with more congruent target areas. 3. Strategic investments in six development corridor counties (inclusive of the three counties above) are based on USAID’s comparative advantage and leveraging other donor support.

An underlying component of the strategy is the use of host country systems to channel USAID funding for service delivery and other activities.

Sustainability and Health Outcomes

USAID is supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to work through community health volunteers to expand community-based services to improve access (in lieu of opening new health facilities) and engage community leaders to support an environment for increased utilization of priority health services.

Through these efforts, we hope to increase utilization of services such as skilled-birth attendance and birth preparedness to reduce maternal mortality; family planning to reduce unintended.

Last updated: July 28, 2014

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