Main part of Liberia’s difficult health situation involves three diseases: malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. According to data from the 2009 Health Facility Survey (HFS), malaria accounts for 35% of outpatient department attendance and 33% of in-patient deaths.
The entire population of more than 4.1 million is at risk of the disease, with serious health and economic implications for the country, such as cost of treatment, days lost from work and school attendance by those infected with the disease. Children under 5 and pregnant women are the most affected groups.
The National Malaria Strategic Plan in 2010 rolled out a new 5-year strategic goals for 2010 – 2015, at a cost of $170,332,893. The objectives and activities set out in the plan reflect the recommendations of The World Health Organization (WHO), the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership and best practices and successes from other African countries, to scale-up the most effective malaria control and prevention measures, from the health facilities down to the community level, and to involve the private sector and all partners supporting health care delivery in Liberia.
Tuberculosis (TB) is another serious health threat. Incident rate is 299 per 100,000 people, and the disease is killing an estimated 1,900 people every year (45 per 100,000) (WHO, 2011). The Millennium Development Goal 2015 target is a rate of 29 per 100,000 (WHO, 2008).
The National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Program manages and runs the different initiatives to lessen the incidence of this desease.
HIV / AIDS
In 2011, 2,331 people died in Liberia by AIDS (UNAIDS, 2012). Although it´s a 30% less than in 2005, the rate is still very high. Prevalence of HIV is 1% on people from 15 to 45 (WHO, 2011).
According to data provided by the National AIDS Comission in 2012,
- 33,671 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Liberia, constituting 60% among females.
- 10,756 people need ARV treatment while 6,592 are on treatment.
- From those 33,671 people living with HIV/AIDS 1,684 pregnant women are living with HIV while 1,325 new HIV infections have been discovered.
- The overall HIV rate among women is higher (1.8%) than among men (1.2%), revealing higher vulnerability of women to HIV infection.
- Furthermore, the Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS) data of 2007 revealed significant differences between urban and rural settings, with overall HIV rates in urban areas.
The National AIDS and STI Control Program is the instrument that articulates the Liberian strategy to fight against HIV / AIDS.
With support from development and collaborating partners –more than 75% of funding for fightining against AIDS comes from international sources (UNAIDS, 2011)–, Liberia has made an important progress in its response to the HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support programs.
The country has also scaled up its HIV counselling and testing services from 3 in 2006 to 366 sites at the end of September 2012. Access to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV increased during the same period from 3 to 297 sites at the end of September 2012, while treatment, care, and support services also increased from 3 to 37 sites.
Saint Joseph´s Catholic Hospital´s role
The Saint Joseph´s Catholic Hospital co-operates in these Government programs by detecting cases, reporting them to the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, applying the policies and procedures established by the Government and providing the treatment and medicines assigned in each program.