The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) 2018 Annual Performance Review and Operational Planning for 2019 conference recently hosted in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County under the theme, "Strengthening Public Health Practice in Liberia" has ended, a release has said.
Over 100 participants represented members of the 54th Legislature, the Ministry of Health (MoH), NPHIL, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Riders for Health.
NPHIL Director General, Tolbert G. Nyenswah, underscored the importance of the conference as it sets the agenda for this year's operations.
According to the release, the meeting highlighted the NPHIL's activities in 2018, including major achievements and challenges.
Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan Kaipay, called on authorities in the health sector to ensure adequate response to the current challenges. Sen. Kaipay called for a critical review of the "absolute free drugs system at public health facilities."
The Country Representative of CDC, Dr. Desmond Williams, called on participants to ensure that the revision process leads to successful discussions, "because I want the Liberian government to take the lead in terms of support to the health sector amid the scale down of donor funding."
Similarly, WHO Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Mesfin Zebrekidan Zbelo, called for an operational health sector in Liberia in the wake of limited resources, noting that this will require trained human resources, improved health facilities and logistics.
Health Minister, Dr. Whilemina Jallah, called for robust collaborative efforts in addressing challenges facing the country's health system. Dr. Jallah called on health workers and Liberians to develop a spirit of commitment in addressing the challenges facing the system.
An NPHIL release says this year's Performance Review Conference covered summaries of major achievements and challenges of Institute, County Health Teams (CHTs) and partners, covering the period of January 1 to December 31, 2018. It also covered NPHIL's obligations under the International Health Regulations, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and One Health.
The conference examined the role of public health in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development; identify priorities in relation to systemic and national transformation goals and decide on the most appropriate mechanisms for improving the public health system and well-being.
The successful implementation of NPHIL's goals calls for improvement in standards at all levels of planning and implementation to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the public health system. The objective of the conference was to provide a forum for the institute and its' partners to review and discuss 2018's activities implementation, and to add value in building a resilient health system.
The four-day session offered opportunities to review the overall progress, performance of the Institute and respond to stakeholders' growing demands for transparency, accountability, improved demonstration of results and evidence of lessons learned through real-time prioritization and performance corrections.
The deliberations also focused on shared innovative, sustainable, models and best practices for public health sector reforms, identify and prioritize key objectives for the healthcare system in the short-term (1-2 years); and set targets for 2019 based on the Institute's annual work plan.
The NPHIL was established in January, 2017, following the 2014 unprecedented epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, which highlighted the need for the establishment of a Public Health Institute in Liberia to support National Health Service delivery as part of plans to revitalize health services in the country.
NPHIL collaborates with the Ministry of Health (MOH) in strengthening existing infection prevention and control efforts, laboratories, surveillance, infectious disease control, public health capacity building, response to outbreaks, monitoring of diseases with epidemic potential, clinical and biomedical research.