Laying the Foundation for the Liberian Health Equity Fund

To help Liberia overcome systemic health systems challenges, the Accelerator is partnering with Liberia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of public health financing for the Liberian Health Equity Fund — its vision for a national health insurance model.

After years of civil wars and an Ebola outbreak, rebuilding Liberia’s health care system will require more than medicine and equipment. It will require the government of Liberia’s commitment to building a more resilient and effective health system. In 2015, the government released its recovery plan, detailing the need for more equipment, medicine and health care professionals calling for $489 million in spending in 2016 and 2017 and an additional $1.21 billion in the following five to bring the health care system up to international standards by 2022. But finding the necessary funding has proved challenging.

The Accelerator and the MOH will jointly develop near-term adjustments to public financing to lay the foundation for longer-term transitions that will lead to more sustainable financing mechanisms for the Liberian Health Equity Fund (LHEF). In addition, the Accelerator will also strengthen Liberia’s capacity to identify and implement evidence-based solutions with less reliance on external assistance. 

The Accelerator will leverage international as well as regional health systems strengthening experts to “coach” senior MOH officials on how to adapt and use global evidence to guide health financing decision making. The Accelerator brought together a broad range of stakeholders within the health sector, including USAID/Liberia, the MOH, and other development partners to identify their shared priorities. Based on those discussions the program will focus on:

  • Costing. Working closely with a multi-unit team from within the MOH, the team will develop a methodology to estimate the costs of delivering Liberia’s Essential Package of Health Services. This costing tool and the capacity to use it are key inputs into the MOH’s ability to strategically plan and make decisions for the future of the health sector. The costing process will continue in close coordination with the MOH to ensure the Ministry can adapt and repeat it as needed in the future.
  • Coaching. The Accelerator will provide targeted technical support to the MOH on high-level decision making around strategic reform with an eye toward strengthening the foundations and structures required for the LHEF. Our support includes facilitating conversations with the Ministry of Finance to identify dedicated sources of funding for the health sector.
  • Partner Engagement. Drawing on a variety of regional technical, the Accelerator will build the MOH’s capacity to identify and evaluate the feasibility of various health financing reforms.

The Accelerator, led by our regional partner — the Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation, organized a two-day costing technical work group from April 25–26, 2019 to discuss a costing methodology and plans to institutionalize the process at the MOH. Assistant Minister Jacobs provided opening remarks. Looking ahead, the program will work with the MOH to gather facility data and conduct a situational analysis at the county and facility levels.

Through these activities, the Accelerator will support Liberia’s Ministry of Health and other stakeholders’ efforts to advance health system reforms — step by step.