STATISTICS OF LIBERA
Liberia is a small country on the West Coast of Africa; it has 15 counties, and 15 county hospitals, which are surrounded by several health centers and clinics (each with about 15-20 beds). County hospitals do not have specialists, and all their surgical procedures are provided by General Doctors\Physicians. Most of these Healthcare Centers do not have doctors and most minor surgical procedures are provided by only nurses or physician assistants. Liberia is a country with a population of about 3.5 million people; and currently has only 3 Liberian Surgeons and no Liberian Anesthesiologist.
The long and brutal civil conflicts affected Liberia greatly, as well as the prolonged regional instability; that, as a result, created hundreds of thousands refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the facilitation of the return process is ongoing and still in progress, the pace of repatriation during 2005 was slow as many refugees were awaiting the outcome of the 2005 presidential elections to return home and more are still waiting for help to return. Liberia has since installed and finally inaugurated a new Government in January 2006. The crisis also affected the brain drain of good healthcare professionals, in Liberia.
NEED FOR HEALTH SERVICES
The fourteen (14) years of conflict have contributed to the deterioration of health care services in Liberia. Over the last two years, there has been a gradual expansion in humanitarian emergency health actions to in-accessible and remote areas of the country. However, the health care delivery system is still in the emergency phase and is heavily reliant on additional external resources in order to increase primary health care coverage and build human and institutional capacity.
The healthcare system in Liberia is highly dependent on support from Agencies and NGOs, which currently implements and delivers more than 90% of the health services. Access to basic and secondary healthcare services is still a major problem as more than 75% of the population has no access to referral care services, such as essential and emergency obstetric care.
MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH STATISTICS
Most of the poor health care services and conditions, in Liberia, have resulted and contributed to some of the world’s highest infant deaths rates (157/1,000 live births), as well as maternal mortality rates. Childhood malnutrition is high with 39 percent (%) of children under five stunted, 86% of children 6-23 months anemic and 53% deficient in vitamin A. These high rates of preventable disease as well as early mortality and poor nutrition not only hinder economic growth, but also affect the development negatively, including the possibilities for community rehabilitation and revitalization.
STATS ON HIV/AIDS
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is conservatively estimated to be around 8.2% and the lack of preventative healthcare information and services, such as care, support and counseling needs to be addressed urgently if the epidemic is to be prevented and controlled. Other factors, such as, the proliferation of commercialized sex, limited condom usage, stigma and misconceptions of proper healthcare, further contribute to the rapid spread of the AIDS disease.
Presently there is no national procurement policy for medical drugs and supplies, in Liberia, which would ensure their uninterrupted provisions. In addition, currently, there is a lack of a functioning comprehensive surveillance of vaccine preventable and other diseases, which creates a difficult health care environment in Liberia, and also in most African countries.