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New investment in Liberia: Last Mile Health

December 11, 2018

LGT VP is proud to have partnered with a pioneer in community health: award-winning Last Mile Health.

 

One billion people in rural communities globally have limited access to healthcare, which affects not only the health of individuals but also of communities. Liberia has experienced the impact of this problem acutely, and its large rural population, two civil wars, and the 2013 - 2016 Ebola crisis have contributed to such poor rural health outcomes that the under-five child mortality rate in rural areas is 120 per 1,000 live births (compared to 106 in urban Liberia).

A solution has emerged in the form of the professionalized Community Health Worker (CHW) model, which is on a path to fundamentally shift the way Liberia’s public health system operates. After decades of refinement, the CHW model has become a high impact, evidence-based approach to improve access to primary health services in rural and remote areas with a 10:1 return on investment. Last Mile Health, a Liberian NGO, has successfully implemented a highly effective CHW program in remote Liberian communities since 2007 in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

After Last Mile Health’s successful contributions in containing the Ebola epidemic, the Government of Liberia decided to scale the organization’s model across the country as part of a historic effort to deploy a community health worker to serve every rural and remote Liberia. The National Community Health Assistant (CHA) Program aims to deploy over 4,000 paid and professionalized community health workers and nurse supervisors to reach 1.2 million people. The National CHA Program now reaches 70% of the remote population, and plans to achieve full coverage by the end of 2019.

Last Mile Health is one of the key implementing partners supporting the Liberia Ministry of Health to scale the National CHA Program, and in that role the organization prepares policy documents, creates training curricula, builds          impact measurement tools, and coordinates with other NGO partners. In support of the government, Last Mile Health and other implementers deploy, support, and manage networks of community health professionals at the county-level and ensures they are integrated into the public health system. With training in maternal and child health, family planning, treatment adherence, and surveillance of epidemics, together with mentoring from nurse supervisors, community health workers deliver access to quality healthcare to remote communities.

In communities Last Mile Health serves, newborn mortality has decreased, and the percentage of children treated for diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia has increased.

For its achievements, Last Mile Health was honored with the 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the 2017 TED Prize.

In addition to Last Mile Health’s success in Liberia, LGT VP is excited to work with the organization to expand its model to additional countries and share its knowledge internationally over the next years.

Find out more about Last Mile Health’s model and its impact here.