(September 20, 2021, 21st Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with the Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa (CONSA) on today, September 20, 2021, launched newborn screening for sickle cell disease at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC).
“For me sickle cell has been my passion: my thesis for master degree was in sickle cell; I am a sickle cell consoler”, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah told scores of participants at the launch.
The Liberian Health Ministry also admonished medical doctors, nurses, as well as health practitioners to buff efforts in providing health and social counselling for patients of sickle cell for societal integration.
“…But we need to get those who are new—those are the people we need to work with so that they can’t keep producing more sickle cell babies. We need to spend our times; whether it is marriage consoler, or in the churches or wherever, we need to do the counselling. We need to start now to prevent the new cases of sickle cell that will be coming behind us. As we prevent, we need to manage those cases we that have because with the little ones they need constant care.”
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, used the occasion to thank the partners for the support, describing it as incredible.
“The JFK Medical Center is indeed blessed. We are proud of the launch here today”, Dr. Jerry Brown, Chief Medical Officer of the JFK said in a remark. “We’re also going to work alone with you to see how best we all can engage it”
The occasion brought together health professionals from both public and the private sector, government officials including representative from the Department of Pediatrics, Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Liberia Medical and Dental Association, Liberia Medical and Dental Council, among other partners.
The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery (LBNM) and its partners has launched Liberia’s first Digital Online Licensing Examinations System.
The online licensing exams system is intended to improve the LBNM’s operations and bring about professionalism as well as transparency in the country’s health sector. This system will also help students to be efficient and effective as well brings a high level of transparency.
The digital licensing exams system which was launched on September 17, 2021 in Monrovia, brought together health professionals from both public and the private sector, government officials including representative from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana among other partners.
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, speaking during the event thanked the partners for the support. Dr. Jallah said who served as the chief launcher however described the step taken by the LBNM was incredible.
Minister Jallah further noted that as everyone welcomes the digital online examinations system, “we are now leaving the paper based exams behind. She however recommends that students throughout the year should be preparing for the digital exams.
However, Cecilia C. Kpangbala-Flomo, Registrar LBNM, said the initiative was made possible through the kind courtesy of US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, UNFPA, and also supported by the New York University Rory Meyers Collage of Nursing. “Most importantly the Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council was the first took the first step to support this process.
According to Madam Flomo, Liberia is the second to embark on this initiative in the sub region, something which she sees as positive and a great achievement for the country’s health sector.
She further disclosed that it all started in March 2019 when the LBNM Board Chairman and the Registrar attended a meeting in Sierra Lone for the West African Collage of Nursing By-Annual Meeting.
She stated that at that meeting the team from Liberia listened to Mr. Felix Nyante, Registrar from Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council when he presented on an online licensure exam in Ghana, the presentation she said they took interest and approach him (Nyante) so as to embark on this initiative.
At the same time, she told the gathering that in June 2019 they also attended a Conference in Singapore where another presentation was done and draw them more closely to (Mr. Nyante) and “this time around he immediately accepted our proposal.”
As we continue our quest to finding solutions to these enormous problems for our growing student’s population we have the government of Liberia stakeholder’s engagement which started with the LBNM board for approval to go ahead with this digital system today. It also brought together MOH and engaged our partner the National Commission on Higher Education who also embraced this initiative.
Madam Flomo also recalled in August 2021, two of its members including the Registrar (Cecilia C. Kpangbala-Flomo) visited the Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council in Ghana on a study tour where the engagements with counterpart were concluded.
Meanwhile, giving a statistics of schools that they regulate across the country, she indicated that the LBNM have increased overtime in school population. According to her, in 2009 they had about eight (8) schools; and the students’ population for administrating the national board exams was around 200 candidates.
However, she added “when we hit 2014 our school population came up to about 17, being regulated and with this number we had a student population of 500 candidates sitting for the national board exams.”
Currently, they have about 23 schools that are being regulated, and out of that number they have student’s population of 900 and some more. Madam Flomo: “We also have about 18 new applicants who have applied and are currently going through the necessary processes of accreditation. As we know definitely when this number is added to the 23 it means our students population will also increase.”
We have our traditional ways of administering exams which is called the (Paper Based Exams) the LBNM administered her first exam in 1956 from that year up to now we have been operating that system.
Over the years the use of paper based however had huge challenges raging from labor cost, time consumption, security risk, logistical constrains in terms of transporting test to long distances with deplorable roads, especially in the southeast of the country. Ghana’s Ambassador, Felix Nyante, said the partnership between Liberian and Ghana has come a very long way, this he said goes beyond what he calls diplomatic relations. I am glad that we are here to celebrate with the LBNM for this great achievement. He calls for continues collaboration with each other to ensure that the all other countries in the sub-region are supported.
The risk of severe illness from COVID—19 increase with age is something global health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as GAVI and others have recommended adults 65 years and older to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Those health organizations have also placed emphasis on important steps to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19, once people lure to the global vaccination exercise.
As a result, the Ministry of health in collaboration with partners in Liberia have joined this global initiative to rollout nationwide immunization exercises since the arrival of both the AstraZeneca and the J&J vaccines that have been simultaneously or parallelly administered across the nation.
However, the Ministry of Health is expected to vaccinate about 10% of the nation’s total population as mandated by the World Health Organization. This global health benchmark, it is not clear whether the Ministry and Liberian Government would meet up with it, but expectations are surge as health authorities are optimistic of triggering it.
Daily, Liberians are gradually pulling to various vaccination sites across the nation. The Ministry and its partners are also moving into communities to get people vaccinated and tested in order to break the trade of transmission.
However, Joanna Eva George, 99, on September 08, 2021, was among the latest older people to get vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
As a way of providing quality routine health services to the public in general, a team of medical practitioners moved to Mrs. George’s residence, where she received her dose.
“I am Joanna Eva George. I am 99 years and December; I will be 100 years. I was informed by my children about the vaccine; therefore, I decided to be vaccinated,” she narrated.
Explaining the vaccines’ essentiality, Yornweh Ophelia Clemons (her daughter) said it’s important that people take the vaccines for their own safety because the new delta variant of the pandemic is killing people globally.
“People are dying from the virus; so we want our mother to take the vaccines,” Mrs Clemons.
For her part, Mrs Mornjay George Pratt, (another daughter of Mrs Joanna Eva George) lauded the government of President George Manneh Weah for initiating nationwide COVID-19 Vaccines immunization, which her 99 years old mother has formed a part.
“At this time, I like to encourage all of you with all of those theories that are so unprofaned to take their vaccines and wear their masks. I have taken mine and all of our employees, we encouraged to take theirs and they had taken their vaccines”, Mrs Pratt disclosed.
She stressed the need for Liberians to embrace the vaccination and dismiss myth surrounding the vaccines’ safety.
(Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia)—the infrastructure development and the provision of quality health services across the nation are few things among numerous initiatives being undertaken by Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah’s administration since her takeover at the Country’s health sector.
Today, September 6, 2021, an array of government officials joined Dr. Jallah and her team at the Ministry of Health to commission the newly constructed partners building. The new building will host offices of the Expanded Program on Immunization, (EPI) Malaria Control as well as other partners’ offices being housed in the Ministry’s main building in Congo Town.
The partners’ ground building was constructed by the Ministry with support from GAVI through the Expanded Program on Immunization. The 50% completion of the project was implemented by the Afrique Construction and Maintenance Company; worth about nine hundred thousand United States dollars.
In separate remarks, Dr. Jallah and Deputy Minister for Administration, Norwu G. Howard, lauded the government and partners for the level of support and at the same time thanked EPI Manager, Mr. Adolphus Clarke for being very instrumental in bringing forth this initiative, as the Ministry envisages 50% completion of the remaining portion of the building.
(Salala, Bong, Liberia)— Over one hundred eye patients across Bong County have received free screening and eye surgery, as part of efforts to minimize people living with blindness or eye condition. This was a joint effort by the Ministry of Health, and Samaritan’s Purse in collaboration with New Sight Eye Center.
The exercise, which began on August 9 -13 at the Salala Health Center, did not only attract patients within the County to the Health Center but also gathered patients from surrounding counties of Bong, including Margibi, Lofa and Nimba. Patients who were booked outside of the Salala Clinic were picked-up by Samaritan Purse, enabling them free access to the facility.
According to the Ministry’s statement, the influx of patients—over one hundred—was predicated upon massive awareness initially created by the Ministry and partners, who believe the lives of citizen matter.
Making a brief statement on behalf of government and the Ministry, Dr. Joseph Kerkulah, National Eye Health Program Director of MOH, said: “A total of 139 cases were booked; out of the number, 110 were cataracts while 12 were relatively inconsequential eye related cases.”
As a result of high sunray which could hamper newly regained sight person, Dr. Kerkulah said they have distributed marque new sun glasses among the patients to resist the sunray.
He, however, lauded Samaritan’s Purse and the New Sight Eye Center for unremittingly buttressing government’s efforts during these times of pandemic, and reassumed government’s commitment and collaboration with partners for providing and delivering quality health services for all Liberians.
The Ministry’s press statement further noted that most people who regained new sight were adults, constituting about 95% of the total number of patients who underwent the surgical operation.
“I am Bendu Kollie,from Gbarnga. I got blind from cataract for almost 2yrs. Being blind wasn’t easy but by the grace of God, I was able to regain my sight. I am happy and I feel blessed because if it weren’t for God Almighty I wouldn’t have regained my sight.” Bendu Kollie said.
“I am Cammue Sayoven, from Larwota. I suffered 5yrs of blindness due to the effect of cataract, due to my blindness. I couldn’t work to system myself, but I bless God for my children that stood by me throughout my years of blindness. I am grateful to God for his intervention in my life and the chance. I have once more to live again”, Cammue Sayoven, 89, noted.
The surgical outreach ended with a program, with supporting and implementing partners using the occasion to appreciate government for providing them the space to contribute to humanity, especially in the Country’s health sector.
Director of Communication
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