The Carter Center, MAP International, and the Liberian Ministry of Health have formed a new partnership to combat a growing mental health crisis in Liberia.
MAP International, is joining with The Carter Center, to provide neuropsychiatric medicines and supplies to the Liberian Ministry of Health. These medications will be distributed to hospitals, health centers, and clinics (public and private) throughout Liberia, where there are trained health care workers, including mental health clinicians. The first shipment of medicine left MAP International’s Global Medicines Distribution Center February 22, arrived in Liberia February 25 and is being processed for distribution by the Ministry of Health.
"Access to neuropsychiatric medication is a step in the efforts to bolster mental wellness in Liberians. We are grateful that this partnership with MAP International complements our work with the Liberian Ministry of Health to reduce suffering and increase the quality of life for those living with mental illnesses in Liberia," said Carter Center CEO Mary Ann Peters.
A decade of civil conflict and the outbreak of Ebola have created a mental health crisis in Liberia that has been intensified by misconceptions, stigma, and the resulting discrimination surrounding mental illnesses.
The Ebola outbreak in 2014 exacerbated mental health problems and exposed the impacts of the shortage of mental health care trained professionals and inadequate supplies of essential neuropsychiatric medications. The Carter Center has supported the Liberian government to strengthen the mental health system and respond to the intermediate psychosocial impact of the Ebola outbreak.
Dr. Francis Kateh, deputy minister of health, chief medical officer, and acting minister of health in Liberia, said: “The integration of mental health care services into the primary health care system is vital to Liberia’s future development and overall prosperity. Due to the mental health impacts of Liberia’s civil unrest, mental health service provision at the primary level is essential in fulfillment of the essential package of health services provided by the government.
People with mental health conditions may have trouble managing everyday life tasks at school, work, or maintaining relationships. The medicine donated by MAP International through The Carter Center is highly appreciated, and it will go a long way in helping clients suffering from bipolar disorders and epilepsy. One of the major challenges of providing care for those people is the lack of essential neuropsychiatric medications.”
The two Georgia-based organizations also teamed up in 2001 to work in partnership on the eradication of Guinea worm in Cote’ d’Ivoire. MAP International served as an implementing partner for The Carter Center.
"This represents a critical extension of our mission," said MAP International President Steve Stirling. "We work best in partnership with others. The programs being carried out by the Ministry and the Carter Center will have a much greater impact for the people of Liberia because of MAP’s participation," Mr. Stirling said.
Since 2010, building on nearly two decades of fostering peace and democracy in Liberia, the Carter Center's Mental Health Program has worked to help create a sustainable mental health system in Liberia. The initiative has focused on training a mental health workforce, supporting the passage of a national mental health law, assisting Liberia's Ministry of Health in implementing the national mental health policy and plan, reducing stigma, and empowering family caregivers.
Since 1954, MAP International has provided life-changing medicines and health supplies to people living in poverty. In 2017, MAP served 14.3 million people by providing medicines and health supplies for more than 10.8 million people serving 3.5 million through community health and development services in Africa and Latin America. MAP is recognized for its efficiency by charity evaluators each year receiving the highest ratings from the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, and Forbes magazine.