National Health Quality Strategy to Restore Trust in Liberia's Health System
On May 10, 2018, the Liberian Ministry of Health (MOH), with support from the USAID Collaborative Support for Health (CSH) Program, launched the National Health Quality Strategy (NHQS). The goal of the strategy is to improve the health system’s ability to provide safe and high-quality health services. It aims to restore public trust in the system through improved leadership, governance, accountability and community engagement. The MOH has prioritized this initiative as shown by its inclusion in the investment plan for building a resilient health system for 2015-2021.
The CSH Program led the development of the NHQS, working closely with MOH and other partners to develop a practical and feasible plan to systematically improve the quality of healthcare services.
The NHQS launch event was well-attended by stakeholders within the health sector in Liberia, including the Minister of Health, USAID’s Deputy Mission Director and a representative from the WHO.
To introduce the NHQS, Dr. N. Jusu Ballah, Director for the MOH’s Quality Unit, delivered a short presentation showcasing its key objective. He told participants that the launch of the NHQS marked a significant milestone in Liberia’s recovery from the Ebola epidemic and in its implementation of the 2015 – 2021 national investment plan.
Dr. Catherine Cooper, the former Director of the Quality Unit and current Assistant Minister for Curative Services at the MOH, provided a brief overview of the NHQS’s development process and acknowledged the commitments from donors and partners, including USAID, that supported the development and finalization of the NHQS. “It is my hope that this document will be owned by the MOH and will be utilized to its fullest to improve quality health services in Liberia” she said.
Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister for Health Services, lauded USAID and the WHO, MOH technical staff and partners for their contribution to the effort. He reviewed the MOH priorities for quality improvement and quality assurance in the health sector that are outlined in the National Health Policy and Plan of 2011-2021 and re-emphasized in the 2015 – 2021 MOH National Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System.
“Today is an exciting day because we have been talking about the NHQS for a long time, and this baby is being delivered today” Dr. Kateh said. He stated that the launch of NHQS was an exciting step forward in the MOH’s goal of achieving resilience in the health sector by 2021.
Dr. Mezvin, the WHO Representative in Liberia, shared his excitement about the launch of the strategy, and expressed appreciation of the donors and partners who supported the NHQS’s development. He emphasized the importance of the strategy, because without quality health care, Liberia cannot achieve resilience in the health sector. He congratulated the MOH for achieving this milestone and assured the WHO’s ongoing support for the implementation of the NHQS. As a critical next step, he also called on all other health partners and donors to support the NHQS’s implementation.
Dr. Collins Bowah, County Health Officer from Bong County, thanked partners and the MOH for leading the development of the NHQS and promised to own the strategy at the county level and to ensure it is fully operationalized.
The USAID Deputy Mission Director, Mr. Mervyn Farroe, expressed his delight to be a part of the event. He was impressed to learn about all the work that went into the development of the strategy, and was impressed with the level of ownership of the process that was demonstrated by the MOH. “I can’t help but to borrow from the words of Dr. Kateh, that there is a birth happening here today.” Mr. Farroe officially presented copies of the Liberia National Health Quality Strategy on behalf of USAID.
Upon receiving the copies, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked USAID and other partners for their continual support toward improving the health sector. “Today we have received another very important document – the NHQS. By receiving this document today on behalf of the government of Liberia, I will ensure that this marks the beginning of the inclusion of quality in our work at all levels. Quality will not just be a word, we will ensure quality is experienced by people at the facilities”, she stated.