IRC Liberia receives US$17.8m from USAID to support community health program

LIBERIA – International Rescue Committee (IRC) Liberia has received a US$17.8 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to support the government of Liberia’s National Community Health Program.

The IRC has been working in Liberia since 1996 and has supported thousands of people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.

Approximately 29% of the Liberian population, and 60% of the rural population live more than 5km from a health facility.

With a host of health challenges in the area including high incidence of Malaria, anemia and a lack of reproductive health services, this USAID funded program will enable IRC to support the Liberian Ministry of Health to meet the health needs of underserved populations in Bong and Lofa counties.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this crucial grant by USAID. The grant will allow us to improve the quality of health services in the target areas,” Faith Cooper, IRC Liberia Country Director said.

“Not only will we support the government of Liberia to increase the coverage of community health assistants in these counties, we will also be increasing the capacity of county health staff and communities to plan, manage and monitor the comprehensive delivery of health services.”

IRC has already seen the positive impact of such grants and this project presents a unique opportunity to build on the gains achieved under the previous USAID community health grant; “Partnership for Advancing Community-based Services (PACS)”, implemented by the IRC and partners.

PACS supported the government to strengthen health systems, improve reproductive maternal and child health, as well as restore public confidence in health facilities and health staff. PACS also provided support to build the government of Liberia’s capacity to control infectious diseases and efforts to rebuild the health system.

Under PACS, IRC saw an almost 20% increase in the number of children under five years of age being treated for Malaria. IRC also trained over 2,500 community health workers who identified and treated children with pneumonia hence reducing the number of children needing to be referred to health facilities.

1061 communities were certified as open-defecation free (ODF) and IRC also supported COVID-19 training for over 2000 community health workers, and also able to repair 424 hand pumps, build over 6,000 latrines and constructed 73 maternal waiting homes with the previous grant.

Today the IRC is working  across multiple sectors in Liberia: Women’s Protection and Empowerment (WPE), Child and Youth   Protection and Development (CYPD), Economic Recovery and Development (ERD), and Health. The IRC has  implemented  projects  in  eleven of Liberia’s fifteen counties.

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