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Liberia To Host 3rd International CHW Symposium

By Bill W. Cooper

Liberia through the Ministry of Health (MoH) will this March host the 3rd International Community Health Workers (CHW) Symposium intended to provide an opportunity for advocacy for the host country and other nations for investment into its Community Health Program and the health system.

The symposium which is held every two years is expected to be hosted under the theme, “Advancing Community Health Worker Programs to Build Resilient and Equitable Health Systems that Accelerate Primary Health Care for Universal Health Coverage.”

Additionally, the date of the 3rd CHW conference which is slated for March 20 – 24, 2023 with two days’ re-conference and three days’ main event activities will be held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Inter-Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.

It can be recalled that Liberia as means of sharing its success story, launched the country’s new ten-year National Community Health Program Policy (2023 – 2032), and Strategy (2023 – 2027), bid in 2019 to host the 3rd CHW symposium and was awarded the bid by the Health System Global (HSG), Community Health Workers TWG, on June 29, 2020.

“The conference is expected to bring together 40 different countries from every region of the world with 600 delegates including high-level government officials from other nations, some UN Agencies, the Africa Center for Disease Control, development partners, Community Health Champions and Workers, Researchers, and foreign missions accredited to Liberia,” Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah stated.

Addressing a major news conference yesterday, January 17, 2023 ahead of the official launch of the conference, Minister Jallah maintained that the 3rd CHW Symposium is critical and will be built on the Astana Declaration (2019).

Others are the African Union’s call for 2 million Community Health Workers (2020), the ongoing global conversation around Pandemic Preparedness and Response, the previous two CHW Symposia (Uganda 2017 and Bangladesh 2019), and the Institutionalizing Community Health Conferences (ICHC 2017, and 2021).

According to her, participation in the symposium will be through a hybrid method, and that many of the participants will be by invitation, indicating further that a considerable number of others will be by abstract applications.

She noted, “There will be two-day pre-conference activities centered on country engagement; creating the space for experience sharing and collaborations amongst the Community Health Roadmap Countries, the Global Fund NFM4 application engagement, and any partner who may want to have pre-conference meetings or workshops.”

“The approach to the main event will also be guided by a global agenda that focuses on global best practices exchange, community health financing, CHW program institutionalization, and emerging evidence and innovations,” Minister Jallah said.

The country’s Health Minister intoned, “There will be an opening ceremony and plenary session followed by a series of corresponding sessions of presentations, panel discussions, and plenaries as well as marketplaces for poster-presentations, institutions engagement, sponsorship, and sales by accredited local vendors.”

“The event will climax with a closing ceremony followed by an awards night for honoring key stakeholders and Community Health Workers from Liberia and other countries,” she explained.

Commenting on the country preparedness to host the conference, the Minster stressed, “With the collaboration and cooperation of the Ministries of State, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, the General Services Agency, Liberia National Police and Liberia Immigration Services, and all our supporting partners, we are confident to host the 3rd International CHW Symposium on March 20 – 24, 2023.”

Minister Jallah then extolled Health System Global, USAID, Global Fund, World Bank, the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, Last Mile Health, IRC, UNICEF, CHAL, Partner in Health and the Community Health Road Map for the initial financial and technical support towards the event.

She at the same time also commended the Golden Touch Corporation (GTC) for working closely with the government through the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners in planning and making sure that the event be a success.

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