3 March 2014

Liberia: Health Minister Highlights Clinicians Training

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW) is calling on the Carter Center's Mental Health Program in Liberia to extend and increase participation of health workers in the area of mental health training program in the country.

Dr. Walter Gwenigale made the statement over the weekend in Bong County during a graduation ceremony of 23 clinicians organized by the Carter Center's Mental Health Program in partnership with the ministry.

The program which operates under the mandate of MOH&SW is designed to ensure Liberia advances in mental health through the availability of quality services and supports for its people.

According to the Health Minister, there are over 600 health facilities in the country, and operate three shifts, and as such wants more health workers trained in the area so as to have people of such spread throughout the country.

He emphasized the importance and extension of medical facilities in the rural communities, noting that there is a huge popularity of citizens in interior and as such it needs more attention.

"We discussed this issue and there will be funds allocated in the government up coming budget", he noted.

A message quoting the former first lady of America and the Co- founder of the mental health program Mrs. Rosalynn Carter said Liberia has made great progress in building a brighter future for its citizens by investing in mental health.

In a remark, Dr. Janice L. Cooper, the head of the training noted that every sub political divisions now has as least three mental health clinicians, and added that there remains a need for building up services in places with immense treatment gaps.

She pointed out that the largest concentration of the center trained clinicians, serves a population of more than 500,000 in Montserrado County. "Outside of the city the average number of mental health clinicians per county is six. Remote counties like Sinoe and Grand Gedeh have 10 clinicians, Maryland, 8, while Lofa and River Gee have 7", she added.

She furthered that Liberia is on target to reach its goal of expanding access to mental health care to 70 percent of the population within the next few years.

Those new graduates are made up of Liberian nurses, physician assistants, and nurse educators among others.

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