United States Global Malaria Coordinator, Dr. David Walton has stressed the need for Community Health Workers (CHW) to be given the need supports intended for a vibrant and functioning healthcare system across Liberia.
He said, “One of the challenges around Community Health Workers is that we don’t necessarily recognize them, and I think it’s time for stakeholders to learn how to understand and value health workers at the community level.”
Speaking to a team of journalists recently, at the climaxed of the Community Health Workers International (CHW) symposium in Liberia, Walton maintained that the three pillars inclusive of good training, good pay, and enough supply of equipment and medicines should be implemented.
According to him, to ensure that workers are empowered, “The pillars are very essential to sustaining a vibrant community health care system. So, we need to make them the most effective that we can, as well as ensure there are enough supplies and that they get the basic training opportunities to be the professionals they ought to be.”
He further disclosed that everywhere in the world, including the United States of America, community health workers have the capacity to treat many illnesses, including malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea but their effectiveness and efficiency are only possible when they have the right environment and support.
About Liberia’s low health workers to population ratio data, the US Global Malaria Coordinator lamented that it is a challenge that is crucial but Liberia is making progress in the fight against malaria. “From 45 percent, Liberia’s malaria cases have been reduced to 18 percent of all illnesses. This is a tremendous achievement.”
Meanwhile, Walton has also decried that paying community health workers a small amount of money but expecting them to devote more time to providing quality service is not possible, and thereby pointed out that the quality of drugs is also an issue of importance and as such USAID is working with Liberia in supporting community health centers.
He added, “The US is working with twenty-four countries in Africa in the fight against malaria. President Biden’s goal is to see Africa and all other countries in partnership with the United States succeed in the war against malaria.”