CampaignOpinion

Presenting the Brumskine Strategy for Universal Health Coverage in Liberia

Photo: Liberty Party’s Presidential Candidate Charles Walker Brumskine campaigning with his wife, Mrs. Brumskine

The great Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” In spite of a few commendable post-war gains, Liberians continue to incur unacceptable health outcomes as evidenced by the Ebola outbreak of 2014. In addition, across all measurable indicators – life expectancy, maternal and child mortality, incidences of communicable and chronic diseases, for example – Liberia continues to lag behind other nations.

The Brumskine Strategy believes that Liberians can live a better and healthier life in our time. To achieve this end, the Strategy is built on four cardinal principle:

  • Affordability
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Resiliency

Immediately upon taking office in January 2018, the Brumskine Strategy will be implemented to achieve the following objectives:

Invest in Strengthening Prevention & Primary Care

  • Invest in mobile clinics starting with the most neglected areas of the country to bring healthcare to the people—purchase vans, equip each with medical equipment, and staff each with a physician assistant, a nurse and a lab technician. This will be a permanent feature of our measures to improve the health of our people. The mobile clinics will provide basic medical care to combat preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, dressings for wounds, monitoring rural pregnant women and young children for anemia, performing antenatal examinations, monitoring and referral of pregnant women with antenatal problems, and providing basic health, sanitation and nutrition education.
  • Increase spending on upgrading of community health centers—refurbishing, providing essential drugs and staffing of rural health posts to ensure that 8 out of every 10 Liberians live less than one mile from a health delivery point by 2023. At least one clinic each will be upgraded to a health center to provide higher level health care in Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, and Sinoe counties. In Grand Kru, River Gee, Lofa, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount counties every clinic will have safe water supply, incinerator, some form of electricity, and sound structure in keeping with the basic standards of the National Health Infrastructure Plan.
  • Future health centers and clinic infrastructure construction and maintenance will be passed on (devolved) to country administration to implement. The central MOH will provide the standards and monitor compliance with building codes developed for the National Health Infrastructure Policy (NHIP).

Invest in Clinical & Allied Workforce Development

  • Expand health workforce development as a major priority area for training Liberian youth. Working with the 14 approved nursing schools in the country, we will introduce the Practical Approach to Care Kit (PACK modules) and train an additional 2,500 nurses over the next six years. We will also enhance capacity at the A. M. Dogliotti School of Medicine to accommodate 75 – 100 additional candidates in each incoming class.
  • Health workers deployed to the neglected counties identified above will receive additional hardship allowances, in advance of a wider restructuring of the civil service pay and grade package.

Invest in Population Health

  • Working with Liberia’s international and regional partners fully support the National Public Health Institute of Liberia to enhance surveillance of both chronic and infectious diseases in Liberia and the sub-region. This will be a priority in ensuring that Ebola does not return to Liberia. Working with the private and non-profit sectors, capacity will be upgraded at our existing national reference lab at the Liberia Institute of Biomedical Research (LIBR). Two additional regional labs will be established in Zwedru and Voinjama.
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Peter Paye Yarkasah

Peter Paye Yarkasah is a Liberian and a U.S. trained policy and communications specialist. He can be reached at: kasah70@yahoo.com

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