COVID-19 Vaccines Message From Mr. Adolphus Clarke Program Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization, MOH

April 8, 2021—As a public health response strategy, the Ministry of Health (MOH) wrote for both ethical and regulatory approvals through the National Research Ethics Board of Liberia (NREB) and the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) based on an official request by the Ministry of Health (MoH). They make sure that individual who agree to take the vaccine are protected from the harmful effects of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19).  If you wish to find about more about the vaccination exercise in Liberia, please call Adolphus Trokon Clarke, Director, Expanded Programme on Immunization on +231777024582 / +231886560846

Introduction

We are vaccinators and health workers, working with the Ministry of Health.

We are inviting you to take part in this vaccination response. We had a meeting with community leaders and members and told them about this vaccination exercise. You do not have to decide today about taking part. You can talk about it first with your friends, family, elders or the vaccination team before reaching your decision.

If you are pregnant and decide to be vaccinated, please consult with your physician.  If you do not wish to take part, even if your physician agrees, we will not vaccinate you. You can agree to receive the vaccine by signing your name or providing a thumbprint on the consent/assent form. We ask for your agreement but will also ask for the agreement of your physician.

Additionally, if you are above 18 years and decided to receive the vaccine, please consult with your parent or guardian.  If you do not wish to take part, even if your parent agrees, we will not vaccinate you. You can agree to receive the vaccine by signing your name or providing a thumbprint on the consent/assent form. We ask for your agreement but will also ask for the agreement of your parent or guardian before you can take part.

To help you to decide, first we will explain what is involved. Please ask if you do not understand. If you have questions later, you can also contact us.

What is Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.  WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. The COVID-19 is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. This is severe disease caused by a small organism which is not visible, called a virus. The community has likely already discussed this with you.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:

  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
  • Sore throat,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Different types of skin rash,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Chills or dizziness.

Symptoms of severe COVID‐19 disease include:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Confusion,
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
  • High temperature (above 38 °C).

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Irritability,
  • Confusion,
  • Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium and nerve damage.

People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your health care provider, hotline or health facility first, so you can be directed to the right clinic.

What is the purpose of this vaccine? Many cases of coronavirus (covid-19) have been confirmed in Liberia. You have been approached for vaccine because of the risk of contracting the disease, your residence, work, or other possible contacts with a confirmed case. This public health response uses four delivery strategies (Fixed, Temporary, Outreach and Mobile) to vaccinate segment of the population in the following categories:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Elderly (60+)
  • People with underlining health conditions
  • Others (i.e., people would cannot physically or socially distance given the work or tasks being performed

The vaccine was tested in more than 10 000 persons in several countries in Europe, Africa and the United States and was found to be safe for use. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the vaccine is safe and that its benefits outweigh the risk.

What is the procedure for receiving vaccine? A qualified vaccinator/health worker will speak with you to see if you meet the conditions to be vaccinated. Before the vaccination process, a psychosocial counsellor will explain to you the important benefits associated with the vaccine and its side effects.

At the vaccination visit, a clean needle and syringe will be used to give one dose of a vaccine into the upper part of your arm. After vaccination, we will observe you for 30 minutes for any problems.

If you feel sick after the vaccination, please call the hotline number 4455 or you can call this number (0777024582) we will provide you for an on-call doctor available 24 hours.

Because we are not completely sure that the vaccine will protect you from Ebola it is very important that you try to stay away from being infected with Ebola. So, do not do the following things: touching body fluids (blood, vomit, saliva, urine and faeces), stay in direct physical contact with bodies of patients (dead or alive), touch the bedsheets, cloth, clothes, meal plates, or share bed and/or dishes of a sick person.

Can I choose not to take the vaccine? Yes. The choice is yours.  Whether you choose to say “yes” or “no” is up to you and your rights will be respected. 

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

The vaccine is against COVID-19 and cannot cause COVID-19. However, some people that get the vaccine might already have been infected with COVID-19. They might develop signs of COVID-19 after they have been given the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.  For them the vaccine did not give protection.

What happen to people who get COVID-19?

Among those who develop symptoms, most (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. About 15% become seriously ill and require oxygen and 5% become critically ill and need intensive care.

Complications leading to death may include respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock, thromboembolism, and/or multiorgan failure, including injury of the heart, liver or kidneys.

In rare situations, children can develop a severe inflammatory syndrome a few weeks after infection.

How many people will be given this vaccine?

We currently hoping to vaccinate in phases about 52% of our total population so that we can achieve herd immunity. We will aim to vaccinate those persons to help prevent COVID-19, and then we will also aim to vaccinate everyone in the target group, to prevent further spread of the disease in addition to the current IPC measures. Anyone 18 years and above can be considered for vaccination.

What are the possible side effects of the vaccine? Receiving the injection might hurt a little. You will feel a pinch with the needle. It can make your arm to have slight muscle aches. It might also make you feel pain at the injection site, give you a little fever (mild high temperature of about 37.8⁰C), swelling, or bruising at the injection site. This should not last too long. You may have redness or bruising where you got the shot for a few days, and there is a very small chance of infection at that spot. You might not feel any of these things. Since this is still an investigational vaccine it may cause other changes that may hurt or bother you that we do not know about.

People can have allergic reactions to vaccines, including hives, trouble breathing, or other allergic responses. This is very rare, but is also a possible effect of these vaccines. There may be other side effects that may be severe or life threatening.

If you have a fever, doctors can test to see if you have COVID-19 or something else, and give you treatment if needed. If you get a fever after receiving vaccine, you should immediately contact the contact tracing and/or the telephone numbers provided.

NCHP Completes Validation Meeting In Buchannan

As the trumpet for the provision of quality health service delivery continue to be sounded in the Liberian health sector, stakeholders in the later inclusive of local and international partners have concluded another validation meeting to ensuring that a national document is validated.

The three-day meeting placed emphasis on Report of the National Community Health Assistant Program Comprehensive Desk Review, Report of the Community Health Promoter Pilot and adaptation of the World Health Organization New Guidelines for Optimizing CHWs program.

The first stakeholders’ engagement meeting leading to the formulation of seven (7) thematic groupings was held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Careysburg, Lower Montserrado County.

Among other things, the review process is   aimed at strengthening the formulation and institutionalization of the Community Health Assistant program that will continue to provide basic quality primary healthcare services to nursing program and promote quality healthcare activities to people living within the reach of the nearest health facilities and urban communities across the country. 

The current CHA program policy and strategic plan, which is expected to expire in June 2021, will pave way for the on-going revision of the new curriculum.

Stakeholders in the health sector gathered from March 24 to 26, 2021 in Buchannan to review, deliberate and share their professional experiences on the program as it has been recommended by global health experts as the bedrock to achieving WHO objective of Universal Health Coverage for all.

Olasford Wiah, National Community Health Program Director at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said: “The past three days, we commenced reviewing these documents: Desk Review of the community health assistants program, the pilot reports of the community health promoter as well as to adopt officially as a Nation the WHO’s guideline on community health workers program

” So, over the last three days we have been deliberating among key stakeholders, and today we have finalized our work and it has been agreed by all of the stakeholders to use these tools as a referenced document into our policy review process that have begun.

“But, the more technical part will be starting in the coming weeks—this covers the entire community health service program.”

The WHO Guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health workers program to assist national governments, and their partners, to improve the design, implementation, performance and evaluation of CHW programs, thereby contributing to the attainment of universal health coverage.

To meet this universal objective, community health workers are hired to serve as liaisons who will help mitigate health disparities, increase access to care, improve quality of care, and lower healthcare costs. They are nonclinical, nonmedical advisors and patient educators.

Referencing their impact on the sector over the past five years, Olasford Wiah said timely validation of the document is very important because the Ministry of Health is charged with the responsibility to provide quality healthcare to the population in Liberia; and as an extension and an integrated part   of the health system in the country, as such the validation and adoption of the program is key to universal health coverage.

In 2016, the Ministry of Health officially launched the National Community Health program immediately, following lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak that took thousands of lives in the Mano Region (Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia). To curve some of these emerging global health threats, various departments and agencies were setup.

Hence, the Community Health Program, according to Wiah, has yielded lots of tangibles results that have direct impact on the overall performance of the healthcare delivery system in Liberia. Reduction in malaria, pneumonia, maternal mortality rates, among few were references he made to the successful impacts of the program in the Country.

“And so, by reviewing what we have done over the last six years, lessons; what we have learned; what are the issues—challenges and what are the recommendations that we want to take forward in the next year to come is what important for the forward match of the design of the curriculum,” the NCHAP Director at the end of the meeting. “Our main objective of the program is to ensure that maternal death and mortality rates are reduced.

As per the report, numbers of active Community Health Assistants across the country is put at approximately 3,7800, while the number of Community Health Volunteers is little over 5000.

“Now, the community health Assistant are within community beyond 5killometer, meaning the most remote communities of our country. So they are positioned there to provide services to the community.

Assuring Partners In Health (PIH) commitment to buttressing government’s efforts in providing quality health service delivery and attaining WHO Universal Health Coverage guideline was Lassan Jabateh, PIH’s Director of Community Health.

“We are here as organization (PIH) to support the Ministry’s dream. We are excited today that the Ministry of Health having a plan and program across all the inhabitants in Liberia irrespective of tribal, age, religious, political affiliation or geographical location.

“Partners in Health has been working with the Ministry since the Ebola period during which the organization was involved to ensure that Ebola was eradicated from the country and onward; we have been supporting the Ministry to ensuring that we have a resilient healthcare system,” Jabateh disclosed.

Liberia has a community health program with focused mostly on people living outside 5 kilometers which arguably constitutes 29%of the population.

Whereas there has not been standardized community program within 5 kilometers—which constitutes 71% of the population.

The validation exercise when completed will placed Liberia on the mode of universal health coverage, making sure that everybody within the perimeter of Liberia has access to health care.

Joyce Kilikpo, Executive Director of Public Health Initiative Liberia, explaining importance of the document, she said: “These document as you may know Community Health is the bedrock of our healthcare system. If we are going to address leaving no one behind—ensuring equity in our health sector—it stands with how well planned and informed our community health program is.

“These documents are worked over time with clearly states what needs to be corrected, what are good we are doing to provide best practices.

“Community health program links community with the health sector—building trust and relationship and at the same time using people from within the community to build that link.”

Signed: ________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communications, MOH, R.L.

105 Persons Regain Sights in Tappita

(March 15, 2021, Tappita City, Nimba)—The Liberian government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with New Sight Eye Center on March 13, 2021 concluded a free rural surgical Cataracts outreach at the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.

The Project is the first of four outreaches in rural Liberia, and it is fully funded by Samaritan Purse while New Sight Eye Canter is serving as implementing partner.

A surgical team comprising four Liberian Surgeons headed by Liberia’s National Eye Health Program Manager Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula of Ministry of Health was dispatched from Monrovia March 1, 2021 for the twelve-day project.

The arrival of the team in Tappita at the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital coincided with the visitation meeting with Dr. Benjamin Harris, President of the Liberia College of physician and Grant Manager of Lion Club Foundation.

During the brief meeting Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula used the occasion to thank both Samaritan Purse and the New Sight Eye Canter for their tremendous supports to the Liberia’s Health sector, noting that the project will serve as monument for the citizens in the region.

For his part, Dr. John Tamba, Acting Executive Chief Office of the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital, lauded the efforts of SP and NSEC for the preferred of Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita.

Dr. Joseph stated that move will serve as luminary scars on the minds and faces of the entire Nimba County.

The meeting which is considered to be an iconic and must celebrated beginning of Eye-surgery in the region, was attended by New Sight Eye Canter’s program Manager Madam N’Chung M. Eben and Madam Yassa Darwolo among others of Samaritan Purse.

However, Henry Wongbeh, a 63-year old man narrated that he got blind as the result of working extensively on his Cocoa farm in Yorpea Nimba mid of 2016.

He stated that his condition of blindness worsened weeks later after the incident occurred.

According to him, he believed he was made blind by some witch in the area because of his Cocoa plantation.

The 63 years old father of 8, grandpa of 6, noted that after the unfortunate incident begins using traditional medicines and in order to curb the situation.  

Mr.Wongbeh said due to his condition he abandoned all his farming activities and begins sitting home all along in the village when everyone else goes on the farm for 5-years.

Henry pointed out that his children consistent stealing of his Cocoa and his anxiousness to continue serving God prompted him to have gone for the surgery upon hearing the news on air.

‘’Getting my eyeball back my son is the wonder of God, ’’ Mr. Wongbeh said Liberian English.

He praised the project team and rained blessings on them for the sacrifices made by extending the outreach service to Nimba.

Bill Gbormia-25 years old: “Cataract is not prominent among young people meanly in their 20s. But Bill Gbormia’s case is extraordinarily mind-boggling.”

 Bill told the project’s media team that, the week of his unfortunate loss of his both parents in a tragic accident turned out to be the same week he lost his both sights to particles of cement bags he was lifting in late 2015.

Bill said during the time of his illness, his 3 siblings including 16 half brothers and sisters totalling 19 abandoned, neglected and outcaste him except for his senior brother he currently stays with.

Gbormia who comes from one of Liberia’s tribal groups Geo in Tappita, Nimba County, narrated that the painful condition and peer-bullied pushed him several times to attempt committing suicide.

He said taking his life would have been the best solution to his problem, but each time he attempted doing so God would intervened by speaking to him to stop.

The bilateral-cataract man Gbormia’s facial appearance, with his overgrown finger and toe nails, and recent rough hair and bear shaved, coupled with mushroom mole covering his teeth showed that Bill was actually living in total captivity and neglect.

25 years old Bill described the coming of the surgical team to Nimba as a miracle he has long awaited fasted and praised for.

Bill named his inability to identified colours, light, walk in and out of bed, even the food he used to eat among others as things he really wish he had eyes to see.

’I never use to see anything with my two eyes in the town (the village), people use to laugh at me, I was looking like fun box, the mean thing da used to make me cry is no woman wanted me’’. Bill told me in Liberian colloquial with an exciting smile on his face as we walked in the corridor of the hospital.

Gbormia asserted further that regaining his both sights is a lifelong joy and authentication of God’s existence and vowed to dedicate his life to the work of God.

’I going home to serve God find one fine girl, so I can start to born my children and make my farm’’ The 25 years said to me as we parted company during his discharge from the Hospital when his both eyes were restored .

Love Leeway-26 yrs old: “Born and raised in Butuo Nimba County May 8, 1995 is Love Leeway who had bilateral-cataract for 10-years.”

Love said she woke up one morning and noticed her both eyes began to itch and tears begin rolling down her cheeks, that’s when she noticed her eyes wouldn’t see no more.

Leeway said the incident occurred in Tappita where she had gone to stay with her mother’s friend, because her father died and her single mother couldn’t carter to the rest of all 7 siblings.

After the incident Love said her mother’s friend retuned her (Love) to her mom because her condition was worsening.

I was in 4th grade, I have to drop from school because when I go to school anything the teachers them write on the blackboard I can’t see one’’. Love said in broken-Liberian English.

Love informed me that she has given birth 3-times and 2 of her children passed away and one is currently alive.

The 26 years old girl with tears rolling down her eyes and a faint light seems not to be penetrating her eye lenses narrated that, that two of the children’s father broke up with her and abandoned her along with one of the children, on the instruction of his mother due to her unbearable condition.

‘’His ma say he mum leave me, because I blind, I can’t  see and her son have to go Monrovia and go to school than to be behind  blind girl like me’’. Her voice began to hallo as she struggled expressing her pains in plain English for my understanding.

When asked how she was impregnated 3-times in roll, the 26-years woman said, due to her blindness men in the village took advantage of her situation and several times had unwanted sex withher when everyone had gone on the farm.

Something she said led to her loss of her virginity and her gettingpregnant several times.

’I used to cry every day, I used to be thinking that my life finish na and I have no reason to live’’. Love shackled as I managed to quench my petty for her (Love) by flipping the pages of my notebook.

she intoned that she never believed God ever existed but, regaining her 10-years of lost sights to bilateral cataracts shows that there exists a God that cares, and using Samaritan Purse to show his infinite love that has for people.

‘’The way I can see now, I going to serve God and go back to school.’’ Love said further as I concluded my interview with her after her multiple eye surgeries the next day. 

She used the medium to eulogized Samaritan Purse, New Sight Eye Center and the team of Liberian surgeons for their great and Monumental work and giving her back dignity and proud amongst people.

In conclusion, the project previously targeted ninety Cataracts surgeries but due to the team’s hard work and relentless commitment to the job, was able to performed 105 surgeries out of 1800 persons who were screened and pre-screened from March 2-13, 2021.

Signed: ________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communications, MOH, R.L.

GoL, Partners Launch Nationwide Typhoid Vaccination Campaign

(Monrovia, Liberia, April 6, 2021)—Liberia’s government quest to ensuring the provision of quality health services to its citizens is something that continue to water across the nation as stakeholders simultaneously and intermittently engage the health with seriousness.

This endeavor and other strategic engagements in the sector are aimed at seeing Liberia reached Universal health benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and team at the Ministry of Health inclusive of partners are doing everything positively possible to meet such Global health goal and standard.

In supra, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 Launched a Nationwide Conjugate Typhoid Vaccination Campaign in the country.

The launch of the typhoid immunization campaign which should have been held in February from the 24 to 28, 2021, throughout the Country witnessed several speeches from high profiled individuals representing government institutions as well as international partners.

Most of the speakers thanked the government and partners for making the drugs available to the Liberian populace, and at the same time called on stakeholders to take the lead in accepting and encouraging their respective constituencies to act similarly in order to medically save the state.

Also in remarks was Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah who explained the significance of the launch and joined speakers by calling on Liberians to adhere to all of the previous nationwide immunizations launched ahead of the typhoid vaccination.

Dr. Jallah said the move by the Ministry and its partner is part of government’s efforts to minimize the increasing waves of the Typhoid disease infection among Liberians. 

“We are calling on all of you people, the Liberian populace in general to take this and all other vaccinations across the country seriously, because this effort is meant to minimize diseases among all of us”, she encouraged participants during the launch.

In furtherance, the Liberian potential and passionate Health Minister officially declared the typhoid vaccination nationwide campaign launched, saying “the vaccine is save; free of charge, and it’s given by day and not at night. It’s also available for all children in the country.”

Dr. Jallah, however, used the occasion urging Liberian parents and residents to make their Children available to be vaccinated against Typhoid.

The vaccination campaign targets little over 1,91170 children between 9-months to 14-year old: “We are targeting little over 1,91170 children who will be vaccinated across the nation,” Adolphus Clarke, Program Manager, National Immunization, Ministry of Health, said in a remark during the launch held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship International on 9th street Sinkor.

The MOH energetic and strategic EPI Manager named Schools, major market places, health facilities, among others are venues earmarked by the Ministry of Health for the immunization.

He used the gathering to heap praises on the government of Liberia and partners in the health sector for the provision of the vaccine and their enormous contribution and support to the Ministry.

Prior to the launch, a thematic committee comprised of the EPI Division, Health Promotion Division, and Communication Unit of the Ministry as well as partners held series of media briefings, advocacy and community engagements, airing of simple typhoid messages.

To ensure that targeted children across the country are vaccinated, stakeholders including the Liberian Marketing Association, Crusaders for Peace, Medical and Dental Council, the Traditional Council of Liberia among other groupings were engaged to create massive awareness ahead of this official launch.

Signed: ___________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh, Director of Communication, MoH, RL

US Embassy Donates Medical Consignment To MOH

The Ministry of Health has received huge medical consignment from the government and people of the United States of America, through USAID Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance to boost Liberia’s COVID-19 testing at the Standard Testing Lab.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the government of Liberia on Thursday, March 11, 2021, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said standing together side-by-side in time of pandemic is the best remedy in tackling any global pandemic.

“On behalf of the President, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, our NPHIL boss Jane Macaulay and our entire Lab pillar, we want to say a big thank you; because maybe a lot of Liberians don’t know here in Liberia we have robots that can collect and analyze the simple before it goes into the testing machine,” Dr. Jallah disclosed.

In order to carryout rapid testing, according to her, the US government provided robots to the Liberian government, which is being used for testing in the country, saying “if you didn’t know that we have robots in Liberia, we have them here—so it is for the public knowledge.

These robots can do the work faster than human; hence, their testing is more accurate than human”.

Dr. Jallah, who expressed delight over the consignment, said the donation came at the time when the Ministry was running short of such materials; thereby, lauding the US Embassy for its timely intervention.

Earlier, while handing the consignment over to the Ministry, US
Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy, said he was honored to represent the people of the United States of America who are willingness to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. Jallah, as she works so hard to provide service delivery in the health sector across the country.

“And as she struggles to battle this pandemic, we are very delighted and humble to be standing within her struggle, and we are delighted to step in with these testing equipment—and the beauty of these things is that it is more accurate.” Amb. McCarthy averred.

For her part, Ellen Munemo, USAID Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance Team Lead, said the consignment presented will be used in the laboratory for extracting out virus from affected persons.

“So what we just handed over is an automated extracted kids that can be used in the Lab of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) to extract the RNA material—a virus particle—which will then detect a fluid that a person is COVID-19 or not”, Munemo disclosed.

The monetary value of the consignment is put at one hundred-twenty thousand United States dollars (US$120,000.00).      

 Signed: _________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

          Director of Communication, MOH

GoL Unveils DNA Machine

The government of the republic Liberia on March 8, 2021 unveiled Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) testing Machine, which will bring relief to rape survivals and justice for sexual gender based violence victims. It is in fulfilment of promise made by the government through H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, to present a DNA testing machine to the people of Liberia to address issues of SGBV in the Country.

Unveiling the machine at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Liberia’s President, George Manneh Weah, said the measures to tackle rape or scourge was the acquisition of a ‘DNA testing machine which is now a reality today’.

“Today is a new beginning and it will begin our journey to revolutionize rape investigation in the Country”, said Liberia’s feminist in Chief, George Weah.

According to him the new technology will have a passionate impact on the way in which rape Cases are investigated in Liberia.

Speaking Monday at programs marking International Women’s Day, the Liberian leader used the occasion to urged health workers to handle the new equipment with care in order to provide the requisite health services to women and children of Liberia.

He said women are special, adorable, fantastic among others as such they deserve to be provided equal opportunity for self-empowerment and was also quick to encourage them to unite and be very strong for the common good of society.

President Weah addressing a cross session of women at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town promised the gathering as Liberia’s feminist in Chief that his government will exert every effort to directly address issues faced by women in the Country.

He said the provision of the DNA testing machine Monday came as a result of the 2020 conference on Sexual Gender Based Violence which also led to the establishment of the Anti SGBV task force.

The conference among other things highlighted the National Road Map on Rape and other forms of SGBV cases in Liberia.

Speaking on the National theme: Women in leadership breaking down barriers in the dispensation of the COVID-19 war, President George Weah said as a Country and people, he remains thankful to women for their resilience and commitment in their various tasks, duties as leaders to both public, private spaces and in their respective homes.

Dr. Weah acknowledged through his government that women continued to need more empowerment and it is his responsibility to institute, implement all measures and policies to promote such empowerment.

Meanwhile, the annual ceremony held globally on March 8, is among other necessities intended to celebrate women’s accomplishments as well as to be champions of change and inspiration for future generations.

Earlier, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah lavished praises on President Weah for providing Women the space to serve in his government.

Dr. Jallah, who is consistently and cautiously fighting to contain the spread of this global pandemic, Coronavirus, through her altruistic leadership role since the outbreak of the virus, said she’s honored to have been selected amongst many across the country to serve as head of the Country’s health sector, mainly during these difficult times.

“It is an honored as a woman to be selected amongst many in our country to serve as the Minister of Minister. However, what we are now looking forward to seeing at the Ministry is to increase the number of women serving in key positions. Although we have few of them in some of these positions but an increase number at every level—including the counties’ levels—is our goal in seeking female compete with their male counterparts”, Dr. Jallah told the gathering when she took the podium to address issues on women’s empowerment and their challenges. The Minister then used the occasion to call on all Liberian to continually follow all preventive health measures mandated by the Ministry of Health, NPHIL and its partners, as they strive in doing everything possible in the fight against COVID-19

First COVAX Shipment Arrives in Liberia

The government of Liberia through Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and Foreign Minister, H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., on Friday, March 5, 2021, received first the shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).

The 96,000 doses received is part of 384,000 doses that are expected to be delivered to Liberia through the COVAX Facility soon.

Receiving the consignments, Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, lauded the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Government, the COVAX Facility, including other partners in ensuring that Liberia becomes a recipient of the COVAX Vaccine.

Minister Jallah said the consignment of COVAX Vaccine is very important to the government of Liberia’s continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that the government attaches great importance to the protection of its citizens, especially with the arrival of the COVAX Vaccine.

The Health Minister said the ministry has already begun receiving calls from Liberians who are willing to take the COVAX Vaccine, saying “this must be echo across the country.”

The Vaccines were presented to the Government of Liberia by the Country Representative of the World Health Organization to Liberia, Dr. Peter Clements, and Mr. Samuel Mawunganidze, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Programme.

Making remarks on behalf of the government and people of Liberia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee Maxwell Kemayah, extended gratitude to the international partners through whom Liberia has benefited from COVAX Facility.

Minister Kemayah said the government is thrilled with the initial 96,000 doses of the COVID-19 Vaccines, which he believed will further upsurge Liberia’s preparedness in continuation of its fight against the Virus.

He assumed the partners of Liberia’s eagerness to ensuring that no stone is left unturned in adherence to all health protocols and preventive measures prescribed by health authorities.

Also, in remarks was US Ambassador to Liberia, Ambassador Michael McCarthy, who expressed US’ willingness to supporting Liberia’s fight against the virus.

“The United States is committed to working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ambassador McCarthy disclosed.

With this, he added that President Joe Biden announced $4 billion in funding to support the international vaccine initiative COVAX, which facilitates procurement and equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including 92 low- and middle-income economies supported through the COVAX Advanced Markets Commitment. 

Speaking further, the American Ambassador stated, “This contribution makes the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19 and builds on decades of U.S. investments in global health, health security, and global health organizations, as well as demonstrating the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better by strengthening multilateral cooperation on the response and advancing global health. “we encourage other countries to make and fulfill concrete commitments to COVAX and to support expanding vaccine manufacturing and distribution to help end this pandemic and ensure future preparedness.”

The US Ambassador congratulated the Government of Liberia on her continued commitment to reducing the transmission and halting the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia and in the region.

“Liberia’s successful fight against COVID-19 to date takes a critical leap forward with the arrival of vaccines to protect health care workers and the most vulnerable from this terrible disease. But the work doesn’t stop here. We hope Liberians will take the opportunity to receive safe and effective vaccines if offered.  And, as always, we remind everyone to continue to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, stay two arms-length apart in public, and seek treatment if you feel sick.  Together we can put an end to this pandemic,” Ambassador McCarthy stressed.

According to the U.S. Ambassador, the American Government has provided an initial tranche of $2 billion to COVAX and will provide the additional funding through 2022, disclosing “We will also work with other donors to make further pledges and commitments to meet the initiative’s critical needs.  We are committed to working with partners and governments to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with a focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations.”

Outlining efforts made by the US Government, Ambassador McCarthy intimated that for the last 60 years the U.S. Government has been working with Liberia’s health sector as a partner to strengthen services and build capacity; the U.S. Government provided $2.3 million to Liberia’s COVID-19 response; USAID supported risk communications, county-level coordination and response, cash transfers, hospitals and treatment facilities, and overall safety nets for the most vulnerable; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide critical technical assistance to strengthen contract tracing, surveillance, and laboratory activities; and the U.S. Department of Defense coordinated the transfer of personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and medical equipment, respectfully.

The turning over ceremony was witnessed by several dignitaries to include the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Niels Scott, the Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU), Laurent Delahousse, the Ambassadors of France, Michaël Roux, Germany, Hubert Jäger, United Kingdom, Neil Bradley, and the United States, Michael A. McCarthy, as well as the Chargé d’Affaires of Ireland, Kate O’Donnell, Rep. Joseph N. Somwarbi, Chairman on Health, House of Representative, and other representatives of multilateral agencies and the colorful representation of the fourth estate  .

Signed: ____________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communication

MOH Concludes Nationwide Tour in Five Counties

Liberian Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and team of experts at the Ministry have concluded first phase of a nationwide tour in five (5) counties, including Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland Counties.

Dr. Jallah alongside Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh; Deputy Minister for Planning and Policy, A. Varfee Tulay; County Health Services Director, Lorene Cooper; Family Health Division Director, Bentoe Z. Tehoungue, among others, jointly commissioned discussions with visited health facilities in those five counties.

The tour, which started from February 12 to 28, 2021, is part of the Ministers annual assessment and acquaintance exercise aimed at identifying progresses, challenges and difficulties confronting health practitioners, as well as find ways forward for improvement.

Among other things, it is also geared towards the Minister’s interpersonal interaction with patients at various health facilities and rendering of humanitarian gestures during these visits. It is meant to review progresses and successes made in past years at both national and counties’ level and to also galvanize strategies to form a comprehensive and progressive national health plans for engagement.

About 1,800 CHS, CHSA, etc., were engaged by the Minister and her team, who shared their respective experiences and made recommendations to the team.

Fortunately, the energetic and passionate of Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah’s annual counties tour coincided with the President of the republic of Liberia, H.E. DR. George Manneh Weah’s strategic nationwide just ended tour.

 The Dr. Jallah and team ably assisted by Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Francis Kateh joined President Weah’s engagements with health workers, relocation of the G. W. Hardley Hospital in Sanniquellie, extension of the VIP annex of Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County, and ground breaking ceremonies of a modern referral Hospital in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh, and Pleebo Health Center, Maryland Counties, among others.

Meanwhile, the referral hospital to be constructed in Zwedru, is a project with support from the German Government which in line with pillar one of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development—it highlights the improvement of health service delivery and infrastructure development.

Making special remarks at the occasion, President George Manneh Weah lauded his German counterpart for such a huge support and investment to Liberia, especially the health sector.

He assured the German Government of Liberia’s unending cooperation in a move to further strengthen the ties already sustenance between the two countries.

The Liberian Leader meanwhile encouraged the citizens of Grand Gedeh County to continue to keep the peace because it was as a result of the peace which they are now enjoying that led to the implementation of such meaningful health project for them.

Also speaking at the program was Liberia’s Chief Medical Office (CMO), Dr Francis Kateh who thanked the German Government and collaborating partners for ensuring the realization of the project.

Dr. Kateh said, with the level of works being done in the Health sector, the sector is on path in meeting global health goal, saying “The health sector is moving in the right direction and we are happy and with more support and collaboration it will get better and bigger soon.”

However, the project is also in line with the sustainable development goals (SDG’s) pillar three among other things highlight good health and well-being for all, will also see Liberia making its contribution of half a million Euros towards its implementation.

The availability and supply of medical equipment as well as the building of capacity for health care workers and technicians will also be covered under the project which is dominantly supported by the German Development Bank, including its implementing partners and the government of Liberia. 

It is expected to serve thousands of residents of Grand Gedeh and the entire southeastern region of the country, inclusive of River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, and River Cess counties.

However, the phase of the Minister’s tour concluded in Maryland county and the second phase is expected to start very soon.

Signed:__________________________

Felecia Gbesioh

Director of Communication. MOH

“No Ebola In Liberia”

(Monrovia, Liberia, February 26, 2021)—The Health Minister of the republic of Liberia, Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has clarified that there is no case of Ebola presently in the country.

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah made the clarification Friday, February 26, 2021, during an emergency press briefing at the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).

The Minister said though there are confirmed death and cases of the virus in neighboring Guinea, but as of today there were eight (8) suspected cases of the virus in the country came back with negative results.

“In Liberia, there were eight (8) alerts that faced the cases examination which they were all tested; they were all negative”, she disclosed

The Minister explained further that recently there were additional two suspected cases of the noxious virus which came back with negative results, again.

“Recently, we received two other alerts of those cases that did not face the cases definition, so we have no case in Liberia. As we stand, as of today, Friday, February 26, 2021, there is no case of Ebola in Liberia”, she emphasized.

On other front, Dr. Jallah told Journalists at the press conference that the global community is still combating the fight against coronavirus pandemic; as such, global togetherness is the remedy to conquering this fight. 

“There are over 112 million plus people that are being infected around the world. The death rate is over 2 million people. In Africa today, 3.8 million people have suffered from COVID-19 and 102000 persons have also lost their lives.

“Presently in Liberia, we have one new case, bringing our total confirmed cases to 2010 confirmed cases; recovery is at 1882; hence, we have no body in treatment unit, but we have people in home base care”, Dr. Jallah explained.

she used the occasion to encourage Liberians to seek their coronavirus test at the COVID-19 testing center located on the Sophia road in Monrovia, in order to know their coronavirus test status. And travelers who are traveling to other countries should observe all health protocols of those countries to avoid future embarrassment.

“We continue our testing at the Union Center on the Sophia road; so we advise, if you are traveling please make sure of the guidelines of the Country you are going to”, she advised

Responding to the Country’s preparedness in combating any pandemic, Dr. Jallah said Liberia had experience from previous outbreaks and lessons learned from those outbreaks prepared the country to combat coronavirus; therefore, all stringent measures have been instituted to face any outbreak.

The Minister was accompanied by the Program Manager on Immunization of the Ministry of Health, Adolphus Clarke, who called citizens and residents of the Country to serve as ambassadors in educating their respective communities on the pending nationwide vaccination exercises.

The Ministry and her partners are expected to carryout vaccination on polio, typhoid, coronavirus and other infectious disease in the length and birth of the Country.

The Ministry is expected to receive the first 384 thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Liberia which will be arriving in the country in the soonest possible time. The coronavirus vaccination will commence two weeks after its arrival to create more education and awareness across the country, according to Manager Clarke.

This vaccination will target greater proportion of the country’s population, beginning with Health Care workers, the executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary branches of government; the Military and para Military, marketers, and wider range of sections of the population between 70 to 75%.

On the other hand, Mr. Clarke told scores of Journalists at the news conference that the vaccination of children between ages of zero to fifty-nine will run from March 12 to 15, targeting 972,870. “For Liberia we are hoping to reach 27039 children”, said the EPI Program Manager.

In conclusion, he said, Typhoid vaccination will run from the 24th to 28th of March, targeting over one million persons throughout the country.

He admonished journalists to initiate the John Baptist’s role in disseminating these vital information relative to the pending vaccination processes. 

Signed: ________________________

            Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communication, MOH, RL

Information on Polio in Liberia

  • Liberia and Africa were officially certified as free from Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in August 2020 by WHO, an incredible milestone in global polio eradication campaign
  • In 2021 another type of polio virus called cVDPV (Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus) is causing polio outbreaks in 18 countries of Africa
  • As of January 2021, all three countries bordering Liberia – Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea – have reported polio outbreaks and over 100 children being paralyzed for life
  • Laboratory tests of environmental samples have already confirmed the presence of cVDPV type of polio virus circulating in Monrovia in December 2020
  • Liberia is at an immediate risk of a cVDPV polio outbreak and Liberian children are at an urgent risk of contracting this incurable disease

Polio in the World

  • COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted immunization around the world, including Liberia. From March to July 2020, 60 polio vaccination campaigns in 28 countries were suspended
  • Polio campaigns were suspended to protect communities and staff from COVID-19 impacting polio eradication efforts and increasing transmission of the disease
  • Rumors and misconceptions surrounding all vaccines, including Covid, have spread vaccine hesitancy globally including in Liberia with refusals noted among some communities
  • Africa is most seriously affected, but cVDPV outbreaks are also ongoing in the Middle East and Southeast Asia
  • In 2020 globally, over 900 polio cases were reported which is a substantial increase from 249 cases reported in 2019.
  • Polio is one of the only three diseases classified as a public health emergency of international concern along with Ebola and COVID-19 pandemic. Detection of polio is a Public Health Emergency in any country, including Liberia.

Action in Liberia

  • Based on laboratory results confirming the circulation of cVDPV polio virus in Liberia, the Government of Liberia has declared a Public Health Emergency for cVDPV polio outbreak
  • With support from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which includes WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CDC and Rotary, the Ministry of Health plans to conduct two rounds of house-to-house polio nationwide campaign with an aim of vaccinating at least 95% children aged 0-5 years while observing COVID19 protocols to ensure vaccinators, health workers and communities adhere to COVID19 precautions and are protected from COVID19.
  • With support from partners, the Ministry of Health will conduct trainings for vaccinators and other health workers on polio immunization and COVID19 precautions such as wearing of masks, keeping a safe distance and frequent handwashing with soap and clean water. In addition, personal protective equipment such as masks will be provided to all health workers participating in the polio campaign
  • To better address ongoing outbreaks of type 2 cVDPV, as recommended by WHO, the Ministry of Health plans to deploy an additional outbreak response tool, the novel oral polio vaccine (nOPV2), which is clinically proven to reduce the risk of cVDPV and is specifically designed to protect children from the only type of poliovirus that remains in Liberia

About Polio, cVDPV and nOPV2

  • Polio virus, both WPV and cVDPV, cause lifelong paralysis in children under 5 years of age
  • There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with two drops of the polio vaccine
  • The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns, and maintaining strong disease surveillance
  • Millions of doses of polio drops have been administered throughout the world and have saved millions of children from paralysis
  • All vaccines for children are safe even if a child is suffering from fever, cough, or diarrhea. Polio vaccine is also safe for newborns, even if they have been born a few hours ago. 
  • Polio vaccine has little to no side effects and can be given multiple times to boost immunity against the polio virus
  • If a population is optimally immunized with polio vaccines, it will be protected from all types of polio including WPV and cVDPV
  • cVDPV occurs when weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) circulates among under-immunized population for a long time
  • cVDPV outbreaks are stopped using same tactics that enabled progress against WPV polio, ensuring every child is given oral polio vaccine in high-quality immunization campaigns
  • nOPV2 is a safe and effective polio vaccine that has been in development for over 10 years and has been thoroughly tested in adults, children and infants across multiple countries
  • nOPV2 has been approved by the Ministry of Health and is recommended by WHO for use in controlling polio outbreaks

Public and Media Support

  • Share accurate information with the public based on this page to ensure parents are aware of the risk from polio and seek vaccination for their children
  • Counter rumors and misinformation whenever identified, without repeating the rumors, through facts and correct information on this page
  • Report rumors and misinformation to Ministry of Health at (vaccines@moh.gov.lr) so that it can be immediately responded to and stop the spread of harmful behaviors
  • Refrain from exacerbating or repeating rumors and misinformation which can result in violence against health workers
  • Maintain ethical reporting standards by protecting identities of persons infected with the disease to prevent stigmatization of patients and their families
  • Inform your families and communities about protecting themselves from contracting polio by getting vaccinated
  • Inform people to seek medical help if their child or a child in their community is suffering from sudden paralysis of one or multiple limbs
  • Post on Facebook, write stories, run radio messages and hold TV or radio talk shows to create awareness on the disease and encourage parents to immunize their children against polio
  • Use your organization’s or employer’s social media to distribute accurate information with the public based on this document so that parents in Liberia are aware of the risk from polio virus
  • Counsel and encourage parents who refuse the polio vaccine and convince them to vaccinate their children, so that their own child and other children in the community can remain safe
  • Encourage vaccinators and parents to observe all COVID preventive measures; always wash your hands with soap and clean water, wear face masks and continue social distancing
  • Encourage parents and caregivers to always take their children to the nearest Health Facility so their children can be vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable diseases
  • Reach out to Ministry of Health (vaccines@moh.gov.lr) for accurate information, clarifications interviews and support for stories

Key Messages to Use

(Approved for use by anyone and on all mediums)

  • All children in Liberia under aged 0-5 years are at an immediate risk of contracting another type of polio virus
  • Tests have confirmed that this type of polio virus is already circulating in Monrovia
  • Polio cases have already been reported in Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea
  • There is an urgent need to ensure all children aged 0-5 years are protected against polio by giving them two drops of the polio vaccine
  • Polio is a dangerous disease that has no cure and can only be prevented through multiple doses of polio vaccine
  • Polio vaccine requires multiple doses to achieve complete immunity and ensure the child’s full protection from polio; multiple dozes of the polio vaccine pose no harm to children
  • The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns
  • The Ministry of Health will conduct two-rounds of house-to-house national polio immunization campaign, dates will be announced shortly
  • All children aged 0-5 years must be vaccinated against polio with two drops of polio vaccine during the two rounds of national house-to-house polio immunization campaigns
  • The polio vaccine is free, safe and effective to protect children in Liberia from the remaining type of polio
  • Polio vaccine is given in the mouth of the child and only protects children from polio, children need other vaccines to be protected from other diseases
  • Polio drops have successfully protected millions of children around the world from polio for decades, and continuous protection is needed
  • Polio drops have safely eradicated the wild poliovirus in Liberia and other countries such as United States, United Kingdom and France.
  • Polio vaccine is recommended for use in Liberia by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health because it can provide continuous, urgently needed protection against the remaining type of poliovirus
  • Polio vaccine been clinically shown to be a safe option for vaccination against the remaining type of polio

Polio Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Polio?

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus, a virus which affects mostly children under the ages of 5. It has no cure, causes lifelong paralysis in children, and in some cases, it can cause death. The only way to protect children is to give them two drops of the oral polio vaccine.

2. Liberia and Africa in general was recently declared polio free, can you explain why we have an outbreak in the country despite the polio free certification?

There are two types of polio, the wild polio virus (WPV) and vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV). Africa and Liberia eradicated WPV type of polio, WPV remains only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Liberia currently has an active outbreak with cVDPV virus confirmed in Monrovia, and over 100 cases confirmed in neighboring countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.

cVDPV polio outbreaks occur when the weakened strain of the polio virus contained in the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) circulates in under-immunized communities for a long time. While Liberia has been declared free from WPV, a lot of children remain at risk of cVDPV type of polio due to the low immunization rates in Liberia and the neighboring countries.

3. Why are we reporting cases of the vaccine-derived polio in Liberia?

Vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV) continues to circulate due to the low routine and polio immunization vaccination rates in Liberia and other countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the already low routine and supplementary polio immunizations rates in the country as most activities were put on hold.

Many parents and caregivers did not immunize their children for fear of leaving their houses due to COVID-19. Rumors and misconceptions around vaccines especially Covid Vaccine created fear in communities hence people did not immunize their children.

The outbreak can also be attributed to importation from neighboring countries and poor hygiene and sanitation in the country. Liberia is amongst 18 African countries that have reported cVDPV polio outbreaks in 2021.

4. How is cVDPV polio transmitted?

cVDPV is transmitted through the oral-fecal route from one person to another. The weakened virus is excreted through feces after a child is vaccinated and could easily spread in places with poor hygiene, sanitation, open defecation and overcrowding. This weakened virus can also transmit when water, food or fingers get contaminated by stool containing the weakened virus.

5. Who is at risk of contracting polio?

Due to the low immunization rates in the country, all children aged below 5 years are at high risk especially unvaccinated children or children with low immunity. The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns. If a child is optimally immunized with polio vaccines, he/she will be protected from both all types of polio.

6. Why is it important to immunize children again and again with the polio vaccine?

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) requires multiple doses to achieve complete immunity in the child and ensure the child’s full protection from polio. Receiving multiple dozes of the polio vaccine poses no harm to your child and is completely safe for children.

7. Will the Ministry of Health use the same vaccine that is causing the polio outbreak to stop the outbreak?

With recommendation from WHO, the Ministry of Health plans to use nOPV2 polio vaccine to stop the polio outbreak. This vaccine is clinically proven to be safe and more effective at reducing the risk of cVDPV.

8. How do we know the vaccine against polio is safe?

Polio vaccine is the safest way to protect children from the remaining type of polio. Polio vaccine in Liberia is pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure safety and effectiveness. The vaccines are supplied through UNICEF nationwide for both routine immunization and during immunization campaigns.

Polio vaccine is safe even if the child is suffering from fever, cough, or diarrhea, and is also safe for newborns as young as a few hours old. Polio vaccine has little to no side effects and can be safely given to children multiple times. Countries like the United States, United Kingdom and France used polio vaccine to eradicate polio and protected millions of children from paralysis.

9. How does the Ministry of Health plan to vaccinate all eligible children in the country?

Through two rounds of house-to-house polio campaigns throughout the country, the MoH plans to vaccinate 95% children aged 0-5 years while strictly observing COVID19 protocols to ensure children, vaccinators, health workers and communities are protected.

11. How will the ministry ensure safety of community, health workers and children from COVID19 during the house-to-house polio campaign?

All vaccinators and health workers who will be engaged in the polio vaccination campaign will strictly adhere to the COVID19 protocols by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance while in the communities and frequently washing hands with soap and water.

Ministry of Health also urges the public to adhere to all COVID-19 protective measures and support health workers by presenting all children under the ages of 5 for vaccination whenever a polio team arrives.

12. What impact do COVID-19, rumors, misconceptions and disinformation have on the polio campaigns?

COVID-19 rumors and misconceptions have affected routine immunization services as well as polio campaigns all over the world, including in Liberia. Restrictions of movements due to COVID-19 and dissemination of false information regarding vaccines are some of the reasons that we currently have an outbreak in Liberia.

The Ministry of Health would like to reiterate that the polio vaccine is safe and has been used to avert paralysis in millions of children globally. The Ministry would also like to urge to the public to desist from spreading false information and encourages health workers, community influencers, the media and health experts to counter rumors by providing accurate information to the public.

12. What is nOPV2 and why is it being used?

nOPV2 is a type of polio vaccine that has been in development for over 10 years and has been thoroughly tested in adults, children and infants across multiple countries. It has been declared safe and effective by the Ministry of Health and is recommended for use in polio outbreaks by WHO around the world. It is the most recommended vaccine to control the remaining type of polio virus that is still circulating in Liberia. It is given as 2 drops in a child’s mouth and protects children from polio virus. It can be safely given multiple times to all children under the ages of 5, including newborns or children who have fever, diarrhea, or cough.