Increasing Contraceptive Use and HIV Testing Among Youth: New Evidence from Liberia

By Rena Greifinger, Technical Advisor, Youth & Girls, PSI Rebecca Firestone, Senior Technical Advisor, Strategic Research & Evaluation, PSI Reid Moorsmith, Former Country Representative, Liberia and current Technical Director, Asia, PSI HealthyActions is delivered over five days for learners attending math and literacy classes through EDC’s Alternative Basic Education programs. The program uses engaging participatory methods

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Health Mobilizer

High Tech Meets Low Tech

How PSI And Mercycorps Used mHealth Communications Solutions

By Regina Moore, Communications Manager at PSI During the Ebola outbreak in Liberia this year, trust between communities and health facilities was severely damaged as facilities struggled to respond to pressing health needs while communities were in the dark about what was going on. Additionally, as Ebola survivors and family members of those affected began reintegrating

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Zeroing in on Ebola

Increasing data collection and connectivity helped stem the tide of the disease, but what needs to happen to finish the job?

By Merrick Schaefer, Lead for Mobile Data at the US Global Development Lab at USAID As the ebola epidemic in Liberia has been stamped out, but new cases continue to be reported in Sierra Leone and Guinea, USAID continues to work to get to zero. It’s the number that the global community must reach to end

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Access to Contraception

From St. Louis to Liberia, Myths about Youth and LARCs Persist

By Andrea Mooney, Communications and Knowledge Management Advisor, PSI and Rena Greifinger, Technical Advisor, PSI As Massa Harris passionately addressed the crowd at the “For Youth, a Healthy Option With LARCs” symposium, she spoke about the difficulties young Liberians face in accessing contraception. “So many things stop young people from accessing family planning,” she said. “Lack of information, lack of

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Surviving Ebola: A Doctor on the Frontlines of Health

Photo of the week

By Regina Moore, Manager, External Relations & Communications In celebration of World Health Worker Week, today’s “Photo of the Week” features a doctor in Monrovia, Liberia. One of only several dozen doctors in the country of more than four million people, Dr. Ireland was on the frontlines of the Ebola epidemic.  Dr. Phillip Ireland didn’t

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USAID Delegation Visits PSI Project in Liberia

image0043-e1390380788906PSI and Global Communities hosted a USAID delegation in Liberia’s Bong county, earlier this month. The delegation was visiting sites the USAID-funded Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) Project. Leading the delegation was  USAID Global Water Coordinator Chris Holmes.

The IWASH project helped sixty-one communities reach open defecation free status in July 2013. A total of 120 communities are targeted in the effort, the program projected to reach 100 communities open defecation free by September.

“The Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program is not just focused on bringing one group communities to ODF status, but the goal is to develop the structures and capacity of National, County and District Government”, said IWASH Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Project Manager, Madam Elizabeth Geddeh, in July.

The CLTS approach is a crucial part of both improving sanitation at the community level and ensuring that it lasts. Outlined in a 2012 document, CLTS will be spread at the local level through the IWASH project.


A recent news story in Shout Africa covered the visit by the USAID delegation:

In rural Liberia access to water and sanitation facilities is very low, a leading contributor to the spread of water-borne diseases which are one of the major causes of death amongst Liberians, especially children.

Additionally, open defecation is commonly practiced in these rural areas, which spreads disease and contamination. USAID IWASH activities are addressing these issues in three counties: Lofa, Nimba, and Bong.


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Health Programs Impacting Urban Youth

In celebration of International Youth Day, Global Health Youth Advisor Cate Lane discusses U.S. Government and USAID’s health programs impacting urban youth. This originally appears in the USAID Impact Blog.

The HealthyActions program in Liberia, under the Advancing Youth Project and in partnership with EDC delivers an HIV and family planning curriculum in alternative high schools for youth that have left the formal education system. Photo credit: USAID In 2010 I took a bike tour of Dar es Salaam’s slums. Over tea and chapattis my young guide told me he had lost both parents to AIDS. As the eldest, he had to ensure the education of his younger siblings. He dropped out of high school and migrated to Dar to work. Now at 24 with a good job, his siblings had finished school, and he was ready to return to school himself.

This glimpse of the vibrant yet chaotic life in Dar’s slums is one that we rarely see. I was struck by the large numbers of school-age youth in the streets working as petty traders: selling bananas, phone cards, sunglasses and pirated DVDs.

Dar is not unique. Rural to urban migration is accelerating, yet governments are ill-prepared to deal with it. In Timor L’este, I heard that that the capital’s population was growing by 10,000 people every year. Poorly serviced squatter settlements, slums, and camps are the norm in many cities, which are increasingly populated by youth seeking opportunities.

In Latin America and Asia, young female urban migrants outnumber young males. Many migrate to escape forced marriage or abusive relationships. UNICEF data from 12 countries show one in five migrant children aged 12–14 and half of those aged 15–17 move without a parent. Young urban migrants often find themselves in violent, stressful and unhealthy environments.

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Liberian Youth Learn HealthyActions for Reproductive Health

Liberia has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world, and unlike most other health issues in Liberia, this appears to have worsened after the end of the civil war. In the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (2007), over 59% of 19-year-old women had either already given birth or were pregnant for the first time.

Meager economic opportunities exacerbate the tenuous health situation for Liberian youth, particularly among young women. Fewer than half of females aged 20-24 and only 33.7% of females aged 15-19 are employed, including those in the informal sector.

There was also high unmet need for family planning (43%) among married women under 24 years old who wanted to delay or prevent pregnancy. And although younger, unmarried women used family planning at higher rates than older, married women, less educated women were more likely to not use a modern family planning method and were more likely to have sex at an early age.

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How Global Health Money Should Be Spent

      The oldest republic in Africa, Liberia, is a small West African country with fewer than 4 million people. We are a poor country, but rich in natural and human resources. After emerging from a long war that tore apart the fabric of our society, ruined our institutions and destroyed our infrastructure, we are rebuilding and have

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Progress Against Malaria Slowing, Says WHO Report

The leveling of funding for malaria prevention and treatment since 2010 has led to a slowing of promising progress against the deadly impact of the disease finds a new WHO report. The World Malaria Report 2012 finds that 1.1 million lives were saved over the past decade thanks to broad efforts to stem the impact of malaria. More than half of the averted deaths, 58% to be precise, took place in the 10 countries with the greatest malaria burden. However, slowing funding, warns the report, could threaten much of the decade’s building momentum.

The WHO estimated that $ 5.1 billion is needed every year until 2020 in order to achieve universal access to malaria interventions. Present funding comes in at only $ 2.3 billion per year, less than half of the estimated need. “There is an urgent need to identify new funding sources in order to further scale up and sustain malaria control efforts, and to protect the investments made in the last decade,” says WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in her introduction of the report. “We also need to examine new ways to make existing funds stretch further by increasing the value for money of malaria commodities and the efficiency of service delivery.”

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Safer Sex: Something to Talk About

Whitney Davis, 18, could have been part of a startling statistic: by the age of 19, nearly 60 percent of all women in Liberia have started childbearing.1 However, Whitney doesn’t intend to add to this childbearing statistic. “I am on family planning,” she says. “I use injectables.”

Whitney is practicing what she preaches; she’s one of the hosts of PSI/Liberia’s youth-centered radio show, Let’s Talk About Sex (LTAS). On the weekly radio show – aired on the United Nations Mission in Liberia Radio – Whitney and her co-hosts talk with guests and callers about youth-related health issues, such as cross-generational sex, peer pressure, and youth involvement in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The LTAS show, a component of PSI/ Liberia’s SMARTChoice program, is designed for youth, about youth and by youth. The SMARTChoice program, targeted at in-school and out-of-school youth between the ages of 15 and 24, promotes abstinence and condom use and reduction in the number of sexual partners among sexually active youth.

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