LIBERIA – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced new funding to create research and innovation centers in Liberia and Guatemala.

Subject to availability of funds, USAID plans to provide US$30 million over the next five years for this initiative. In Liberia, the center will use research and build training capacity to address health system challenges.

These two new awards add to the growing Higher Education Solutions Network portfolio at USAID focused on strengthening research systems in USAID partner countries.

This US$15 million project establishes a public-private-academic hub for research utilization in the Liberian health sector.

Devastated by civil war, the Ebola epidemic, and now COVID-19, Liberia’s health system has dealt with severe resource constraints, shortages in healthcare workers, and other systemic challenges including gaps in evidence-based medical training and practices.

Through partnerships with public and private sector stakeholders, CTLI will advance evidence-based training for the health workforce, patient care, and health policy.

It will also build local research capacity and advance the understanding for how and when research can be effectively translated into programs, policies, and practice in the health sector.

Further, the award will work to connect research and policy to shape the enabling environment for such activities and act as a model for this approach throughout the region.

USAID has a long history of working with higher education institutions and these new projects continue that tradition by investing in partnerships between higher education institutions in the U.S. and in USAID partner countries.

USAID helps strengthen local scientific and research capacity and establish higher education institutions in USAID partner countries as local sources of knowledge and innovation.

Through partnerships with private and public sector partners, these programs improve the use of research in decision-making, empowering local actors to address local development challenges using evidence-based solutions.

This investment follows a World Banks approval of US$54 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to improve health service delivery to women, children, and adolescents in Liberia.

The project aims to reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy, improve the health, wellbeing, and survival of the adolescent girl, and contribute to the improvement of Liberia’s Human Capital Index. It will build on ongoing efforts supported by the World Bank and Global Financing Facility (GFF) to improve the quality of healthcare and build resilience since the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Currently, hospitals and the health system cannot adequately respond to people’s daily health care needs, particularly during health emergencies like the Ebola outbreak and potentially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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