Monday, April 25, 2011

Building Relationships for Stronger Health Care in Liberia and Ghana

After working with representatives of Liberia and Ghana for three years, Gabe Forrey, GHLI Conference Project Manager, finally made his first trip to these countries visiting the delegates who will be attending the GHLI Conference in June. “After meeting in person to understand problems and discussing next steps, I heard a change in their voice, and saw them take ownership over the process to create their own strategic plan of the process to create a feasible plan to reduce maternal mortality during my visit,” explains Gabe.

Gabe’s visit focused on building personal and professional relationships with delegates -- beyond the confines of email -- to confirm respective delegations and confirm logistics for GHLI fellows in the summer.

Gabe shared one of his most memorable experiences talking to Dr. Camara, who is an advisor to student fellows. Although visibly busy, when he sat down to discuss the conference with Gabe, they talked for almost three hours. Gabe explained, “He’s now invested, we can grow and continue to see success and it’s an exciting feeling.”

Gabe described how inspiring it was when all six delegates rearranged their schedules for a group meeting, to meet, illustrating their commitment to taking the conference seriously. “Sitting face-to-face with the delegates helped me bring a new level of energy and excitement to them about the conference,” says Gabe. “I was able to answer questions, clarify details and address any concerns for them immediately.”

Gabe shared his hopes for the future of Liberia’s health outcomes by breaking away from content with the status quo. “If they can elevate quality of care while also improving trust in the community,” he explains. “They could start out small and build.”

Liberia’s 2011 country delegations are as follows: Gregory Walker, Margibi County health services administrator; Vivian Cherue, deputy minister of health; Aribella Greaves, former assistant minister of planning, r&d, Ministry of Health & former technical officer, World Health Organization; Ansumana Camara, Montserrado County health officer; Satta Mckay, Montserrado County health services administrator and Hawa Kromah, Margibi County health officer.

Amanda Sorrentino, GHLI Intern