Liberia: U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Commends the Ministry of Health for “Laudable Job” in Reducing Malaria Infections
MONROVIA – Dr. David Walton, United States of America’s new Global Malaria Coordination, has commended the Ministry of Health, along with community health workers, for a ‘laudable job’ done in the fight to reduce the rate of malaria infection cases in Liberia.
By: Henry Karmo, [email protected]
He told journalists that Liberia’s achievement in reducing malaria infection cases, especially for kids under five years, is an achievement that could be applied in other countries.
“Compared to what we had in 2005 in terms of people affected with malaria, the number of cases has been cut by more than half in terms of people who are not getting affected with malaria. That is an unbelievable amount of progress made in the fight against malaria infection,” he said.
“There are few countries that have made such progress. Liberia is a leader and should be celebrating and recognizing that. And we from the United States President Global Malaria program believe the main contribution for such progress is the expansion of community health workers.”
Dr. Walton, who recently attended the Global Community Health Workers Symposium in Liberia, stressed the need for more support to be given to community health workers because, according to him, there are kids in the community who are sick but can’t be taken to hospital because the hospital is far away or the family cannot afford their transportation and if there are community health workers in the community they can diagnose and treat cases quicker and preventing them from getting sicker with malaria.
The US Global Malaria Coordinator also mentioned the day-to-day challenges faced by health practitioners, especially as it relates to the ‘small pay’ they get and recognize the sacrifices they make to treat people, believes it is the job of stakeholders including the US global malaria program to support them and make them feel capable by providing training and better opportunities.
“The community health worker want to feel recognized, they feel they are not being valued, by the lack of good salary and effective training so they want to be recognized as official part of the health care workforce. That is a big challenge in many countries,” he said.
He also announced the US government’s robust plan for pandemic preparedness. According to him they (US) will help Liberia to prepare for future pandemic and also take care of other illness because when pandemic happens, people still get ill from other sicknesses.
“People will still born babies so we are committed to building the system that can robust for any shock of pandemic.
“Our goal is to help Liberians improve their health, and the ability for the Ministry of Health to prove a case. I will be using Liberia as an example, particularly on our effective our foreign assistance is particularly around malaria and COVID-19.
“This is a model that can demonstrate a true sense of ability that a country like Liberia can capitalize on foreign assistance and turn it into true dividends for the health care of the people. There are strong lessons we can take from Liberia’s success and apply them to a different system.
Dr. Walton was appointed by President Biden. He has over two decades of experience working in global health, including working in Haiti to fight the 2010 cholera outbreak and on the front lines of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Walton has a proven track record of building local partnerships to expand access to care and providing primary health services to the hardest-to-reach populations.
Dr. Walton takes the helm of PMI after serving as the Senior Director of Global Health at the Butterfly Network, Inc., co-founding Build Health International, and 15 years with Partners in Health. He was previously an Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
He holds an MD from Harvard Medical School, an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as the first Doris and Howard Hiatt Global Health Equity resident.
Led by USAID and co-implemented with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PMI supports 27 partner country programs in sub-Saharan Africa and the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia – accounting for over 80 percent of the world’s malaria burden. Together with global partners and national governments, PMI has helped save 10.6 million lives and prevented 1.7 billion cases of malaria.