GOOD 100: Meet Raj Panjabi, Making Primary Health Care Accessible
Raj Panjabi, a refugee of Liberia’s civil war, has dedicated his career to giving back to the region with Tiyatien Health, or Last Mile Health, an initiative aimed at saving the lives of women and children in remote villages. With Frontline Health Workers (FHWs), Tiyatien Health trains former patients and other non-medical community members to be health advocates. Their 5-year goal is to hire and support 300 FHWs to help 150,000 people, and serve as a model to help the 400 million Africans that still lack primary health care.
By recruiting, hiring, equipping, and integrating these FHWs into the existing public health system, Tiyatien Health is pioneering a 21st century system to bring health care directly into hard-to-reach, last mile villages.
TH’s biggest project in 2013 is growing their new flagship site in Konobo district, in partnership with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
“The district of Konobo is home to the most remote villages in West Africa’s largest rainforest, which until now have been written off as unreachable,” Panjabi says. “The district’s only health facility is inaccessibly far for most residents, and Konobo’s women and children have some of the worst health indicators in the country.”
In two years, TH plans to provide primary care for 100 percent of Konobo residents by building a new health system with Frontline Health Workers at its core.
Since the launch of the Konobo project in August 2012, Tiyatien Health has hired and trained 10 FHWs, who already provide care for thousands in the district. Our goal, in partnership with the Liberian Government, is to scale up to 60 FHWs to cover Konobo district, one of Liberia's most remote districts, and make dramatic increases in survival rates.
“In this way, TH aims to create the foundation for a national network of frontline health workers to serve 1.5 million rural Liberians, and become a model for serving the 400 million Africans, currently lacking primary health care,” Panjabi says.
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