Strengthening Health Financing Mechanisms to Achieve UHC
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Liberia is working to strengthen their health system to improve access to needed health services.
There have been marked improvements to Liberia’s health sector since the end of the Liberian Civil War in 2003. In 2007, Liberia introduced access to Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS). In 2011, the government introduced the Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS), which took the BPHS one step further by mandating that health care be free at point of use in all public health care facilities.
With the Ebola crisis in 2014, however, Liberia is continuing to grapple with major setbacks in its economic and healthcare system (displaying the highest number of reported deaths from Ebola). With out-of-pocket (OOP) payments accounting for 51% of total health expenditure in 2011, Liberia has made the decision to pursue universal health coverage through the creation of a centrally pooled financing system to be supported by contributions from individuals, the government (earmarked tax revenue) and donors for strategically purchasing health services. The pool will seek to make quality health care affordable and accessible to all regardless of their social status.
The underlying goal of the National Health & Social Welfare Policy & Plan 2011-2021 is to make quality and equitable health services accessible to all people in Liberia. Liberia also passed the recent Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System 2015 – 2021, which aims to improve access to safe and quality health services.
In 2013, the Ministry of Health started discussion on developing policy and health sector reforms to accelerate the country's progress towards universal health coverage. One such initiative proposes to create a Liberia Health Equity Fund (LHEF) to protect Liberia’s vulnerable population (including the poor, sick, handicapped, elderly and children) from catastrophic costs of accessing health services through risk pooling, while simultaneously mobilizing alternative and more sustainable domestic resources for health care deliver.