Written by Richard Downie
The process of rebuilding Liberia’s health system, shattered by 14 years of devastating conflict, is entering a crucial and potentially destabilizing phase. The Liberian government and local NGOs are assuming a larger responsibility, but Liberia’s health system is beset with serious problems. The United States, Liberia’s most steadfast partner during this reconstruction effort, remains publicly committed to playing a leading role. As a statement of its commitment to Liberia and as part of an effort to move toward a more sustainable development model, the U.S. Agency for International Development has begun channeling funds directly rather than through third-party contractors. This new approach, if successful, will give an important boost to the stated effort of Liberia’s Ministry of health and Social Welfare to begin the long transition away from donor dependency. This report focuses on specific things the United States can do to sustain the momentum on public health in Liberia.