The Liberian Education Minister spoke at the High Level Commission’s meeting currently taking place in New York.
According to Commissioner Werner, there is a strong connection between education and health- the basis for human capital the basis of human capital for any economy. “Without skilled and healthy workers, no economy can grow,” he stated.
Minister Werner indicated that health systems cannot improve without educated health workers.
In Liberia, he said “with a sparsely spread population and limited road infrastructure, there is high demand for health workers, but not always sufficient literacy to give us the health workers Liberia deserves.”
“The Republic of Liberia is the only Ebola (EVD) affected country represented on this Commission. Although Liberia is Ebola-free, we still have a weak and vulnerable healthcare system due to lack of infrastructure and an outward migration of health professionals during and after the crisis. Liberia was also the country where health workers were hardest hit by the disease and our very limited stock of doctors was diminished further by the crisis,” the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth told his audience.
He maintain that pandemics and their aftershock to “communities are not new phenomena of the 21st century, but the lack of investment, systems, and manpower tend to cause either an inability or delayed response to tackle healthcare crisis globally - this is unacceptable.”
“We credit the Commission’s intention to create 40 million jobs in the health sector by 2030 and to address the shortfall of 18 million health workers. But we appeal to not let the cost of all those jobs and wages fall solely on governments with a limited budget such as Liberia. A range of partners need to support the endeavour to fill health worker shortages. Irregular or inadequate pay will not help keep trained health workers in Liberia. This requires new partnerships and finance models,” the Liberian Education Minister pointed out.
“First, quality education is a fundamental requirement if we are to recruit, train and employ skilled health workers. More emphasis has to be given to healthcare relevant curriculum at the primary school level; as well pinning down the basic literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills that our health workers and doctors need when taking life or death decisions about the lives of Liberians, and of their children.
Secondly, the employment of women in the healthcare sector to strengthen health systems. Gender inequality – as embodied in poor school completion rates for girls and underpayment of women in the healthcare sector – limits our ability to build strong and inclusive health systems. It also has negative impacts on education outcomes for their children – a feedback loop which must be addressed.
To address these two recommendations will require sustained investment in the sector and concrete steps to address inequalities,” he intoned.