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Big Boost for Liberia’s Health Sector:GoL, USAID Sign US$59.1 Million Pact

USAID Chief of Mission Dr. Bernice Dahn and Finance Minister Amara KonnehMonrovia, Liberia - The Government of Liberia represented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have signed a US$59.1 million Pact - “Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA)” - with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to an MFDP release, the financing agreement which was signed today (Tuesday February 16, 2016) in the conference room of the MFDP is intended to strengthen maternal, neonatal and child health care service delivery in Liberia. The FARA covers the period 2016-2020, following a previous four-year agreement that supported the successful implementation of Liberia’s National Health and Social Welfare Plan of 2011-2015.
Liberia’s Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh noted that the FARA will positively impact the implementation of the nation’s new National Health Plan (NHP-2016-2020) which development took into chary consideration of all factors that led to the rapid spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) throughout the country.
Minister Konneh said the new support will take the country a long way, five (5) years in the implementation of the current NHP-2016-2020 of Liberia. “The FARA to the health sector seeks to strengthen public financial management; improve performance management at central and sub-national levels; and increase the use of facility and community-based health services in the country,” he intoned.
According to him, in order to accelerate disbursement of the US$59.1 million to the health sector, MFDP has set-up a dedicated escrow account titled: “MOH/USAID FARA Escrow Account,” in which money disbursed by USAID to the consolidated Account will be moved within not more than four working days. He said the account will be entirely managed by the Ministry of Health and not the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Minister Konneh than appreciated the United States government which he recognized as Liberia’s long lasting friendly nation which continues to increasingly support the West African State developmental agendas.
For her part, Dr. Bernice Dahn, Minister of Health of Liberia averred that the government and people of Liberia are grateful to USAID for its continues support to the nation’s health sector noting that the United States Government through USAID earlier braced the health sector of the country with US$42 million FARA which was utilized in four years, 2011-2015.
The FARA, according to Minister Dehn, has been a direct financial and technical support to the implementation of Liberia’s Health Plan, funding the roll-out of the Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS) and implementation of systems strengthening interventions at the central and county levels.
“With the US$42 million to the sector over a four year period, health services to the inhabitants of Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties, which make up 1/3rd of the Liberian population, many gains have been recorded.
“Owing to the tenants of the FARA, a culture of results-based management and performance improvement is being harnessed, health indicators in the three counties are improving and national systems of monitoring and supervision are being strengthened. All of these, including improvement in the quality of care and evaluation are high on the agenda of the MoH,” Minister Dahn maintains.
Also speaking during the signing ceremony, Mr. Anthony Chan, USAID/Liberia Mission Director said the FARA promotes performance and accountability. He said the FARA continues a history of innovation which begun under the first FARA of US$42 million by continuing to channel assistance directly through a line Ministry in Liberia.
However, Mr. Chan also noted that for the first time, an escrow account has been created for the FARA within the MFDP, further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of USAID’s assistance to the government of Liberia.
He added that the use of the FARA is in keeping with USAID Forward, a reform initiative to transform the way USAID does business by, among other things, emphasizing host governments’ systems and commitments to results-based decision making.
Mr. Chan than noted that he was very happy for USAID to have entered into another financing agreement with the government of Liberia to help improve the health sector of the country following its EVD crisis.

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