MOH And NPHIL Update On Coronavirus Outbreak In Liberia

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Public Health Institution of Liberia (NPHIL) has held its first major press briefing to give updates on the status of the coronavirus case that was reported late last week and where we are as a Country in the fight against the virus.

On Friday March 13 this year, the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Nathanial Blama along with scores of government officials entered the country via the Roberts International Airport (RIA) at which time according to authority at the airport said the EPA boss who came in from Switzerland breached protocols that has been set up to track down imported case(s) of the virus.

Addressing a news conference Thursday in Monrovia, the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah lauded President George Weah for taking the lead in the fight against the coronavirus. She also thanked line ministries and healthcare workers from both MOH and NPHIL for their cooperation and aiding the Ministry of health in the fight against the coronavirus. She further disclosed that upon receiving the information by health authorities, Director Blama was traced and his specimen were taken to an isolated area where he was tested positive of the Coronavirus.

According to Dr. Jallah, the EPA boss is currently at the 14Military hospital undergoing treatment and responding very speedily. Minister Jallah however said, contact tracing was immediately done and 41 high risk contacts were found among which 21 were taken for testing and one was tested positive and is currently undergoing treatment along with Director Blama at the center who is also doing well. Notwithstanding, the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked authorities at the RIA for alarming the breached of protocols by the EPA Boss and also the community who have been very instrumental in working with the Ministry in identifying those contacts.

Minister Jallah at the same time encouraged Liberians to keep washing their hands as it is not only a measure for the outbreak of the coronavirus, but other diseases. She noted that there are plans underway by the Ministry to distribute hands washing buckets to those in slum communities that cannot afford. Also speaking during the conference, the Acting Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Dr. Mosoka Fallah consented that there are two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but indicated that they are well under control.

Dr. Fallah said that 17 of the high risk contacts were also being taken to an isolated place for testing which according to him 16 of them were tested negative with one being indeterminate and is currently being retested. He averred that in order to protect the Liberian populace, those high risk contacts have been moved to a very isolated area to do the blood draw.

Dr. Fallah also thanked health and immigration officers assigned at the RIA for alarming the breached of protocols by the EPA Boss and also the community that were very cooperative in working with them to identified those contacts.

Meanwhile, National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Acting Director Dr. Mosoka Fallah frowned at people who are disseminating false information and causing panic in the country. He further called on every Liberian to join hands with the government of Liberia in helping to fight the virus which possess threats to not only Liberia but the world at large and stop listening to fake news.

GIZ Donates Three Ambulances to the Ministry of Health

The German Cooperation Deutsche Zusammenarbelt (GIZ) has donated three ambulances to the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, Monrovia.

Making the presentation, the Project Director of GIZ Damien Bishop said, the gesture is to buttress government efforts in providing quality health delivery to people in the Southeast especially those in Maryland, Grand Kru and River Gee.

He said due to terrible road conditions in the southeast, ambulance provision on roads is something residents have always complained about and in order to curb this situation the long term perspective was to provide the three ambulances which will facilitate the smooth movement of patients.

He furthered that, the donation came in the wake of engagement held with county health officers in the three counties, where his organization has been providing ambulance support and sometimes fuel.

He also stressed that one of the overriding reasons for the donation is to work with the Counties health teams in making the isolation facility in Fish Town, Maryland County operational which according to him cannot be done without proper ambulance provision.

He further noted that the GIZ has also trained nine drivers and eighteen nurses, three and six from each of the counties for the effective driving of the ambulances and handling of IPC cases for a period of three months.

Receiving the key of the three vehicles on behalf of the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Dep. Minister for Administration Hon. Norwu Howard thanked GIZ for the donation and promised that the ambulances will be used for the intended purpose.

Madam Howard further lauded GIZ for its consistent support to counties in the southeast and asked that it continue its support to enhance the sustainability of the ambulances even after the three months must have elapsed.

She also welcomed the trainees on board and cautioned them not to use the ambulances to transport anything order than sick patients during their three-month service to the Ministry.

In remarks, MOH Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh expressed thanks and appreciation to the GIZ and urged the trainees especially ambulance drivers to set a different standard in terms of patient management and care.

According to Dr. Kateh riding on an excessive speed just because one is driving an ambulance may often be detrimental to their life and that of the patient they intend to safe especially in the case of pregnant women, he thus cautioned drivers to drive with care and not to run above the speed limit. Meanwhile, he admonished the ambulance drivers to take their IPC measure very seriously else they could get themselves infected from patients carrying transmitted diseases or viruses and to take proper care of the vehicles given them.

Healthcare Federation of Liberia Holds First Ministerial Stakeholders Forum with Ministry of Health

The Healthcare Federation of Liberia (HFL) a newly founded organization has held its first Ministerial Stakeholders Forum (MSF) with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to establish a public, private sector partnership aimed at working together to improve the provision of quality healthcare delivery system in the country.

The meeting which brought together scores of healthcare provider from the private sector was held on February 13, 2020, in the Minister’s conference room at the Ministry of Health headquarter in Congo town, Monrovia.

According to the head of the African Health Business (AHB) Dr. Amit Thakker, the Ministerial Stakeholder Forum MSF is use in several countries around the world with the Ministry of Health of every country sitting as the senior administrator along board members of the HCFL in order to open the environment to discuss the challenges and potential solutions in the health sector especially in the private sector.

Dr. Thakker meanwhile acknowledged the concerns of the Ministry in those several areas that they have been engaging the private sector including the area of sanitation and promised that the coming into existence of the Federation will seek to address some of those major concerns.

He noted that, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Health and the MSF whose membership comprises of both private and public healthcare institutions, the provision of quality healthcare services would be sure.

Chairing the meeting on behave of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Liberia Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh welcomed the move by the group, and noted that, the establishment of the Federation came at the time when the country need quality ways to begin working together to serve humanity.

Dr. Kateh further disclosed that, some of the country’s major health issues in time past came from the private, stressing that to see the very sector coming to ask for a partnership to work together in making sure that healthcare delivery is improved is something that worth commending.

Meanwhile, the Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh pledged the Ministry’s commitment in working with members of the Healthcare Federation of Liberia in achieving its goals. 

Also speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister for Administration of the Ministry of Health Hon. Norwu G. Howard stressed the issue of proper accountability, noting that the ministry has been dealing with several other organizations in the private sector, but there has been no accountability.

In remarks, the President Elect of the Healthcare Federation of Liberia Dr. Nicole Cooper said, between July of 2019 and February 2020 the Federation has been in contact with one hundred and eleven different institutions in the private sector and of the one hundred and eleven institutions, 40 have fully signup as members of the Federation, adding that, the Federation membership is open to any organization whose primary business is in the health sector.

Madam Cooper also lauded the Federation’s partners for helping to create a strong organization structure within her institution, which according to her, will enable the Federation to be an effective partner to the Ministry of Health and to help work with the Ministry to achieve its policy goals.

Chrisitian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) DONATION

As part of preparations to fight the corona virus which continue to spread in other countries around the world, the Ministry Health have receive a donation of two hundred boxes of face mask from the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) a non-governmental organization operating in the country.

Making the donation, Madam Patricia Kamara, Executive Director of the organization said the donation of the masks is to complement government efforts in preparation to fight the corona virus is fast spreading around the world.

Madam Kamara noted that the early preparation of the health sector to fight any outbreak in a country is the best thing to do by the Ministry of health of that country and commend the government through the ministry of health for their efforts.

“We from CHAL don’t want it be like what happened during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in 2014 that claimed the lives many of our people, when the health sector of our country was not prepared for any outbreak”, she stressed.

Receiving the donation on behave of the ministry, Madam Nuwoh Howard, Deputy Minister for Administration thanked CHAL for the donation, noting that the items came right at the time when the Ministry is in preparing to ensure the protection of anyone that would enter the country with any sign or symptom of the virus.

Minister Howard disclosed that the ministry is making sure that systems are setup to contain the spread of any respiratory disease and virus in the country.

According to her the Ministry in collaboration with the National Public Health Institution of Liberia (NPHIL) has being working to ensure that structures are erected at the airport and various points of entry in order to scare up surveillance all over the country in making sure that citizens are well protected.

Minister Howard, “it is our prayer and hope that this virus does not hit us, but viruses have no border, so all we can do is to be in the state of preparedness”.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Administration of the Ministry of Health Nuwoh Howard has called on all of the Ministry’s partners, NGOs, INGOs and other civil society organizations in and out of the country to join the fight in the prevention of the corona virus and that the ministry is opened to more donations.

11th National Health Review Conference

The Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah says between January and October 2019, the health sector has recorded over 94,268 normal deliveries conducted by skilled birth attendants, with 7,061 through caesarian section amidst 117,575 infants were reported to be fully immunized.

Speaking at the MOH 11th Annual National Health Review Conference held at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, the Liberian Health Minister disclosed that 146,041 persons are currently living with HIV and Aids, while 6,554 cases of all forms of TB are living with 5,941 cases completing treatment and 2,222 cases cured of TB. She recorded 223,446 as total number of surgeries performed over the period, including all forms of emergencies.

Dr. Jallah explained that in 2018 the MOH and partners conducted a service availability and readiness assessment which covered 765 health facilities, with highest number of facilities (268 Or 35% in Montserrado County while Grand Kru and Gbarpolu Counties having least number each of them had 17 health facilities (both counties constituted 4.8% of the total health facilities).

She said the assessment also showed that majority of health facilities in Liberia were clinic constituting 87.7%, health Centers 7.5% and Hospital 4.9%; and a little over half (56.7%) of the facilities are located in the rural areas.

Dr. Jallah expressed that the health sector is determined to accelerate access and effective coverage as the sector moves towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) where everyone has access to quality health services.

“Our progress towards achieving UHC is being hampered by the prevailing decline in domestic resources mobilization, reduction in personal income as well as shrinking international support. The result is limited resources to provide financial protection and reduce out of pocket spending,” she noted.

She said the provision of health services at no cost to the user has adversely affected the quality of care and it’s only now that the Ministry has begun addressing this issue to measure and improve quality of health services, saying “This so-called ‘Free services’ has continued over the past 12 years and we believe that it is time to introduce some minimum fees to support the Revolving Drug Fund (RDF) as an intermediary measure towards the implementation of the Liberian Health Equity Fund (LHEF).”

Minister Jallah said, “We must take the bold step and announce that we are moving away from this disjointed, uncontrollable free health care regime to a more organized targeted services for the poor and vulnerable Liberians.”

Meanwhile, the Liberian Health Minister says the Ministry is continuing its efforts to expand health services to the majority of the Liberian population, adding that they are gradually shifting from the costly curative, intensive programs to cost-effective, preventive-oriented community-based primary health care programs.

She said the National health delivery system is designed to provide a complementary manner, preventive and curative health services throughout the country, with particular emphasis on maternal newborn and child health (MNCH) services including immunization and nutrition services; infection prevention and control (IPC), WASH, and health promotion.

Serving as keynotes speaker at the conference, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers said poverty reduction is a central vision of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) government; adding that its eventual eradication cannot be achieved without effective human capital development.

Dr. Chambers believed that a country cannot achieve sustainable human capital development to fight poverty in the absence of a strong health system.

“Poverty eradication cannot be achieved without first achieving Universal Health Coverage (UNC). This makes UHC very critical for poverty eradication,” he continued.

In furtherance, Speaker Chambers said the Liberian health Sector is faced with series of challenges in the mist of high maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, growing burden of neglected tropical and non-communicable diseases, noting “These challenges cannot be mitigated without the total involvement of all Liberians as stakeholders from our partners in the global community, to Liberians in the diaspora as well as our local communities.

He underscored the importance for total involvement of the users themselves in the management and delivery of health care.

The 11th Annual National Health Conference is observed under the theme: “Improving Access to quality PHC Services in Liberia; A Call to Action”. The opening ceremony gathers officials and staff from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Parliamentarians, County Superintendents, County Health Officers, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-based Organizations, sectorial ministries, media groups and a wide range of health development partners to review and document the health sector performance in fiscal year 2018/2019.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

UNODC makes donation through the Ministry of Health

UNODC with funding from the European Union has donated several IT equipment worth US thirteen thousand five hundred thirty nine dollars nine cent # 13,530.9 USD to six (6) faith-based institutions through the ministry of health in Congo town.

Making donation on behalf of UNODC, Mr. Jose Manued Lopez Alvarez who proxy for Dr. Abiola Olaleye, program officer for UNODC projects in Liberia thanked the European Union for providing the funding to enable his organization initiate such remarkable donation through the ministry of health. He further added that his organization remain committed in collaborating with the ministry of health and faith-based institutions to provide financial, technical and moral support to the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health.  Mr. Alvarez, encouraged service providers to use the equipment for its intended purpose.    

Receiving the items on behalf of E.S Grant Memorial/ JFK Mentor Hospital, Teen Challenge Liberia Chapter, Liberians United Against Drugs Abuse (LUADA), Youth Establishing Safe Society (YESS), Kimberline Youth Foundation and its Secretariat headed by ECOWAS focus   person within the ministry of health, Mrs. Esther Grant thanked EU and UNODC for the financial and technical support provided over the years to the ministry and asked service providers to use the equipment wisely in order to collect accurate and qualitative data on the number of persons using illicit substances in the country as well as to further inform stakeholders in making the right decision and to also influence policies-makers

Mrs. Grant said, the donation was very timely and called on other partners to follow the good gesture of EU and UNODC to enhance the smooth workings of the ministry.

Also making remarks during the turn over ceremony, Deputy Minister for Planning, Policy and Research A.Vaifee Tulay used the occasion to appreciate EU and UNODC for such a timely donation to the health sector.

Minister Tulay then cautioned service providers to use the items very wisely in uplifting the lives of young Liberians who are trapped by these deadly and harmful substances brought illegally in the country. He maintained that the situation at hand is becoming a threat to national security and as such the equipment, most especially the computers, should not be used to watch movies. Anyone caught in the act of doing so will be penalized by the ministry says Minister Tulay.

Minister Tulay in closing stressed the importance of the equipment and lauded the partners for the kind gesture in this difficult period. He said he’s convicted that the donation is a dream come true especially at this most needed time for the end users.

Community Health Services Division Holds It’s National Quarterly Review Meeting

Office of the Communication Unit

COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES DIVISION SCORES 80% IN ACHIEVEMENTS

The Community Health Services Division at the Ministry of Health in collaboration with County Health Teams (CHTs), County Health Officers (CHOs), County Health Focus Persons (CHFPs), Medical Directors, Senior Management  Team, Donors and implementing Partners  held a meeting  at the Wuo Garbie Tappia Intellectual hall, at  the Peace Empire hotel in Gompa, Nimba County.

Acknowledging Partners, including the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia (CMO), our Donors and implementing Partners, Director Wiah of the Community Health services Division appreciated UNICEF, LAST MILE HEALTH, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, PACS AND PIH for their timely intervention inspite of the challenges faced in the Health Sector. He also thanked the CHOs, CHTs, Ministers, Directors of other Programs for the attendance and support.

Grand Bassa County CHO, Dr. Anthony Tucker, appreciated Donors and Implementing Partners for their continuous support to the Health Sector. He acknowledged the dedicated performances of Health Practitioners despite the constraints faced by the sector. 

He also lauded the National Government for the allotment but called on her to see the need for the inclusion of the County Health Service Supervisors (CHSS) on the payroll. 

Rev. John Sumo, Director of the Health Promotion Division stressed the need for integration of various Programs as well as Direct Budgetary Support for other Divisions lacking, to mention, Health Promotion Division, Communication Unit etc. 

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Minister Chea Sanford Wesseh expressed gratitude to the CHSD leadership of the County Health Team (CHTs), leaders at the central level, Donors, and Implementing Partners for their commitment and financial support towards the implementation of the National Community Health Assistant Program. 

Minister Wesseh disclosed that there are work to be done but the first priority needed to be implemented after such an interactive Review Meeting is, to share the action points within two weeks in order for participants inputs to be made and finalized.

 As a way forward he said, all programs will be tracked regularly both at Central and County level. He also amplified progresses made so far, but there is still an urgent need to do more as a Ministry by demonstrating results that would visualize the success of the program. 

He then emphasized the need for the Monitoring and Evaluation Division to exert pressure on their colleagues to enable them do their work effectively. He indicated that the issue around HR transition and the stockout issue will happen at the National level.Minister Wesseh conclusively called on health practitioners to remain proactive as the senior management team engage the Supply Chain Unit and lobby with Donors to see how they can invest in the Supply Chain to have a laudable performance.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

Director of Communication  

MOH And USAID Signs 6.2 Million Dollar MOU

COMMUNICATION UNIT

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United States Agency for International development (USAID) on Monday July 15, 2019, signed a memorandum of understanding by contracting an additional three counties, Grand Cape Mount, River Gee and Rivercess to make sure that Liberians achieve quality healthcare.

This recent MOU of the additional three (3) counties was signed based on the positive indicators realized from the first three (3) traditional FARA counties, Lofa, Nimba and Bong which were contracted-in last year, July 19, 2018 by USAID.

This agreement was made under the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Account (FARA) at the Ministry of Health in which it is being supported for the implementation of the government’s ten-year national health policy and plan. 

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, cautioned the county health officers to jealously protect the American taxpayer’s money, other donors funding as well as the government allotment by assuming accountability and transparency. 

Jessica Healey, USAID’s new Health Director, appreciated the MOH leadership for the level of effectiveness to making sure that the partnership succeeds. 

According to Director Healey, there are other programs through which the American Government is willing to assist Liberia through USAID.

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh

Communication Director

MoH and WHO Celebrates World No Tobacco Day

Office of The Communication Unit

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization, local and international partners  joined the rest of the world in observant of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on  Friday May 31, 20 19.

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated around the world every year on May 31, by its Member States. The World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) designed May 31, each year as the annual world No Tobacco Day (WNTD) and it is to be observed by each member state. 

This year’s WNTD was being celebrated globally under the Theme “Tobacco and the Lungs Health”.

Local and international NGOs, Civil Society Organizations along with other government agencies   joined the Ministry of Health and its partners at 10Am in the conference room of the TB Annex in oldest Congo town to observe this all important day.

Over the year’s many countries have been able to use WNTD as the starting date for implementing new smoking bans and tobacco control efforts, since it was designed in 1987 by WHO.

The celebration of this day was intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 7 million deaths each year worldwide, including 890,000 of which are the results of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

According to research, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.

Signed: Felecia Gbesia

Director of Communication MOH/RL

MoH/WHO OBSERVES WORLD HEALTH DAY

OFFICE OF THE COMMUNICATION UNIT

The Health Ministry and the World Health organization (WHO) On Friday April 5, 2019, observed an initial celebration of World Health day at the Ministry’s head office entrance in Congo town.

The intent of this initial celebration was to present to the world the commitment and togetherness of all. The solidarity chain brought together donors, officials of the Ministry, policy Makers, WHO staff, Health Workers, patients etc.  The joining of hands around the world which was portrayed by participants, symbolizes their commitment to bridging gaps and working collaboratively towards universal health coverage (UHC), the theme for this year’s World Health Day.

Addressing the opening session, the Minister of Health, Min. Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah dedicated this year’s World Health day to all Liberians. She said as Health Practitioners, we are knowledgeable about the World Health day unlike those who are out there in desperate need of essential health tips.

This according to Dr. Jallah, can only be done by our outreach to the last mile by providing them with those basic Health educations that would enable them shoulder their own health responsibilities instead of blaming others.

Minister Jallah also stressed the need for everyone to be responsible for his or her own health by eating the right food, keeping our environment clean and having a consistent medical visitation especially when we fall ill. She finally called on all Liberians to unite and celebrate the World Health Day considering the fact that, at this point in time, Liberia as a nation can unite with the rest of the World to keep the world and Liberia healthy.

In his remarks, the WHO representative Dr. Mesfin Gebrekidan Zbelo indicated the need for universal health coverage cannot be over emphasized in that, it’s been used as the theme for this year’s World Health Day.

Dr. Mesfin said the need for universal health coverage is very much important because it ensures that everyone, no matter where they are, no matter where they live, no matter when they need it, can access quality health services without facing financial hardship. 

Speaking further, he said this year’s celebration of World Health Day shines a spotlight on the advantage universal health coverage (UHC) brings to all people in all places and the essence of it.

Dr. Mesfin stated that globally, the world Health Organization (WHO) is attempting to get one billion more people to benefit from quality health services and financial protection by 2023. The progress towards health related and broader development, can only be achieved by providing access to quality care and protection for financial option to everyone everywhere. 

He said the regional director of WHO is accelerating support to countries by realigning their services and relationship in achieving universal health coverage. In the absence of health security, there cannot be universal health coverage and in the absence of universal health coverage there cannot be health security.

This involves the assessment of the major services to ensure that they are design for everyone everywhere at every time as well as the introduction of innovative approaches for the delivery of those services. The need for making use of digital solutions will put in place innovative systems to deliver universal health coverage for the people of Africa.

In addition to support this realignment, the regional director is helping to build the evidence based around what works and what doesn’t work in developing and applying universal health coverage, by documenting practices to implement the code interventions and to also setup comprehensive information. Dr. Mesfin said, health systems strengthening for universal health coverage is one of the key instruments for change.

It entails “integration of good stewardship, adequate financing, qualified and motivated workforce, access to quality medicine and health products, functional health information system and people centered health service delivery.

He concluded on behalf of the regional director by saying “I look forward to working with governments and partners in the region so as to move towards universal health coverage. It is only by coming together that we can achieve the health and wellbeing we want for our people”. 

Signed: Felecia Gbesioh 

Director of Communications