(November 13, 2021, Buchanan, Grand Bassa)—County Health Offices as well as officials of the Ministry of Health, partners and stakeholders have concluded a three-long-day “County Level COVID-19 After Action Review Meetings”. The meeting focused on specific areas of needed action plans and scenario mechanism measures for future improvement and way forward for the provision of quality health services delivery. This enabled participants, who were predominantly health, to share hybrid experiences on COVID-19 response, patients’ management during emergency; burial of COVID-19 victim, amongst other things.
Several Participants in separated remarks asserted that the COVID-19 vaccination drive was very instrumental as they engaged the public through taken door-to-door and asked local leaders having low inoculation to adopt innovative ways to boost the campaign. They made remarks at a meeting, held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Sharing further, they said special emphasis was placed on taking message of religious leaders spreading awareness and encouraging the vaccination drive to the people.
At the closed of the meeting, Mr. Abraham Nyenswah, Pillar Lead for Coordination of the Incident Management System, at the Ministry of Health lauded participants for sharing their thoughts on experiences gained since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus pandemic early last year.
(November 24, 2021, Gbediah Town, River Cess, Liberia)—the Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, unveiled a state-of-the-Art modern referral hospital in Gbediah Town, River Cess Country.
The modernized hospital dedicated to the public is the only referral hospital in River Cess since its establishment and will increase access to quality healthcare, as guaranteed under the Universal Health Coverage. It was funded by the German Development Bank through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The initiative followed after fabrics of the country’s entire health sector was hit by Ebola in 2016. This crisis then exposed the limitation of the health system. Therefore, Welt Hunger Hife and the Ministry of Health designed the Ebola support program in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Sinoe counties. These multifaceted projects resulted in Welt Hunger Hife constructing over nine health facilities, including the River Cess District Referral hospital, for the government to structure and decentralized infrastructural health that would solidify and strengthen the provision of the quality health service delivery across the nation.
Actualization of this vision has brought in the construction of this modern Referral Hospital that contains a modern theater or operation room, an accidental emergency Unit, Surgical and medical walls, modern laboratories, offices for Doctors and nurses, waste management facilities, administrative buildings, and six houses to accommodate hospital staff.
In addition, the hospital has running water system and 24 hours’ electricity that is powered by 70 kilo wax and 64 KVA solar generator.
The modernized River Cess District Referral Hospital is compared to other major health facilities like the JFK hospital, the Phebe referral hospital, among others. It will provide quality health services and alleviate difficulties faced by people in the county and its surroundings in access health services.
It was a colorful occasion, as Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah was joined by scores of government officials, local and traditional leaders as well as developmental partners to grace the occasion in that part of the country.
“We are all proud owners of this newly constructed hospital”, Dr. Jallah remarks during the occasion marking the official handing over of the hospital’s keys to its administrators. “I am delighted to be with you today to officially accept this hospital from Welt Hunger Hife on behalf of our President Dr. George Manneh Weah”.
With this 80 bedrooms being amongst several projects funded by the people and Government Germany, Dr. Jallah smartly acknowledged their roles in supporting Liberia’s health sector, which have led to its hybrid improvements and sturdy strengthening.
“Liberia’s Health Sector is, indeed, grateful to the German government, KfW and WHH for its continuous support. We have benefited in many ways from this partnership: we have health centers and clinics that have been completed,” Dr. Jallah.
Seeing it as a great feat annexed to improve the health condition of the South-east region, the Liberian energetic health Minister expressed conviction that the facility will radically improve the provision of quality of health service and infrastructure for patients and staff; not only in River Cess, but its neighboring counties, including Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Grand Bassa Counties. “This will benefit us in immediate future”, Dr. Jallah.
Assuring the German government and Welt Hunger Hife’s genuine support and commitment towards the actualization and implementation of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development was the Country Director of Welt Hunger Hife-Liberia, Mr. Hubert Charles. He expressed gratitude to the Liberian government for exercising leadership and taking decisive action to support the implementation of the project that contributes significantly to the PAPD; not only by expanding access to essential health services but also to strengthen the Country’s health delivery system.
“Hon. Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, River Cess District Referral Hospital comprise amongst others the following: a modern operating theatre, an accidental emergency Unit, Surgical and medical walls, modern laboratories, offices for Doctors and nurses, etc,” Mr Charles explained.
The occasion was marked with signing of certificates. Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Norwu Howard, signed on behalf of the Liberia’s government while Hubert Charles signed on behalf of Welt Hunger Hife.
“I envision a hospital where people of around the world will travel to study tropical diseases and do research on communicable and non-communicable diseases; where our students, doctors and nurses will come and learn the act of caring for the sick. As I walk around the land, I imagine a sustaining facility where we can grow our own food and feel our patients. My signature on these documents signifies our commitment to ensure we implement and adhere to standard capable for the full operation of this facility”, Minister Howard expressed after affixing her signature on the hospital’s document.
(Tuesday, November 9, 2021, Congo Town, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health and partners on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, rollout a two-year Private Sector Engagement Strategy, which is designed to structure engagement between the Ministry of Health and the private health sector. It seeks to strengthen the private sector’s contribution to achieve the nation’s health goals.
Even though engagement between the Ministry of Health and the private health sector has a long history, this strategy aims to structure collaboration and dialogue between the two parties to achieve common long-term objectives. It was drafted through series of consultations with stakeholders from across the Ministry of Health and within the private health sector. It also includes areas of collaboration identified as those of mutual interest to both sectors.
Serving as chief launcher of the strategy, Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah outlined significant progress being made by the ministry under her watch relative to annexing smooth collaboration and coordination between both sectors.
“It is important we have this collaboration because the private sector is a major contributor to what’s happening in the government sector. If you don’t have a well-organized private sector, thing will be going but it’s will be going …”, Dr. Jallah asserted.
The private health sector has grown form 2 percent to 8 percent of total health expenditure over the 2015-2018 period. This shows that private health facilities in Liberia represent 37 percent of the national healthcare market and this representation increases to 80 percent in urban areas. The level of penetration of the private sector varies greatly by county, with most of the private health sector situated in Montserrado county. Any effective and sustained effort to leverage the private sector resents an opportunity for enhance access to quality services, particularly in urban areas where most of the private sector operates.
However, espousing on access to and choice of health services in which the Ministry should play a leadership role, the keynote of speaker of the day, Dr. Jabbeh, called the Ministry to create an enabling environment for private sector engagement.
“Recent the Ministry of met with the Health federation of Liberia. And so during that consultative process the Ministry of Health was able to set some key priority areas that would also align with the Ministry of Health’s vision, mission, the guidance principles and strategic goals and objectives.
“What is the role of each sector? For the Ministry of Health primary role is to provide oversight and execute this strategy, working in collaboration with HFL designated representatives,” remarks Dr. Jabbeh.
Giving importance of the launch was Minister George Jacobs: “we want to train health workers in the private sector so they can be on path with their colleagues in the public sector. So these things we are working on to see how to strengthen the private sector to achieve quality in the attainment of universal health coverage.
“Now that we have launched the private sector engagement strategy, moving forward it will provide us an opportunity for the private sector to help us in the health sector, so that we expand our scope of operations. We need the private sector if we should have a wider scope for family planning, among several other activities that are out there. They have a role to play—in the same that we need them they also need us,” Dr. Logan in closing remarks.
The keynotes speaker underscored the need for both parties to work together in the common interest of the Liberian, through the provision of quality healthcare services that would meet universal health benchmark.
(October 28, 2021, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia)— The United Bassa Organization in the Americas (UNIBOA) on Thursday, October 28, 2021 made a donation of injectables and medicines to the Ministry of Health to enhance national government’s efforts during these times of global pandemic.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the Ministry, Hon. Norwu G. Howard, Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Health called on well-meaning Liberians both home and abroad as well as organizations to muster the courage in contributing to the Country for the provision of quality healthcare service delivery.
“I want to say to Liberians out there: no matter what happens Liberia is our home; no matter how long you live in America, Liberia is our home…so I want to thank those Liberians who put their hard earn resources together to solicit assistance for Liberia”, Deputy Minister Howard remarked.
The Minister at the same time pledged the Ministry’s willingness to partnering with organizations so that “we can reach the last Liberian”.
“We stand ready to partner with you all in order to reach to the last mile because there are people who are in dare situations and are in need of our assistance “, she emphasized.
However, presenting the items on behalf of the organization’s President, Abraham Williams was the former President of the organization D. Zeogar Wilson who named excitement and patriotism as tools they have sued to give back and make impact in the country.
Providing the English meaning for the vernacular acronym (UNIBOA) which means “The Child Has Grown” Mr. Wilson flanked by one of UNIBOA’s officials in Liberia James Kelley thanked Trembo National Association of America for helping to support and improve Liberia’s health sector.
The former UNIBOA’s leader stated that even though they are a Bassa organization but they also stretch out their hands to other Counties because, they are all Liberians.
He historicized that when he was National President in 2016, UNIBOA also donated medical supplies to Liberia worth $USD 25,000 and one of the beneficiaries then was the Lutheran Hospital in Lofa County something they are repeating this time around to Gbarpolu County.
“We always extend our helping hands outside of our jurisdiction, because we are all one people “, he maintained.
The donation was made possible through the partnership with the Trembo National Association of America.
The group through its President Harry D. Kpoh Jr, lamented that his organization is also very happy to be a part of this effort which compliments government’s drive in achieving the pressing health needs of every Liberian.
Partnering with different donors in the United States of America, Mr. Kpoh said their goal among other things is to get lifesaving supplies including medical equipment, high protein food and other needs that required for the people of Liberia.
He at the same time acknowledged the good partnership and collaboration both with the Ministry of Health and the United Bassa Organization in the Americas which saw the donation ceremony brought to fruition a reality.
“We value and cherished your collaboration especially the duty free privileges which has greatly help us to in return help our brothers and sisters back home”, he added.
Though the items were donated at the Ministry but will be subsequently transfered to the CH Rennie Hospital; Grand Bassa and Gbarpolu counties.
(October 19, 2021, Monrovia, Liberia)—the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah on Monday, October 19, 202, received a brand-new JAC jeep from Liberia’s first Lady H.E. Madam Clar Marie Duncan Weah in fulfillment of her Commitment during the 2021 Presidential Tour in Bomi County, to the Suehn Mecca Health Center.
Dr. Jallah, fully attired in dominant blue suit—beamed with unending smiles occasioned by overwhelming enthusiasm, which inspired hard work—moved to the podium to receive the vehicle’s keys.
Upon receiving the vehicle on behalf of the Ministry of Health for further handing over to the Bomi County Health Team, the Health Minister thanked the First Lady for the donation; expressing that it would address pressing health needs in Bomi County and its surroundings.
Earlier, while speaking during a brief presentation ceremony at the Health Ministry in Congo Town, First Lady Clar Weah said she was moved by the exemplary work being done by health workers in Suehn Mecca amid the tedious challenges as explained by Senator Snowe during the President’s visit there.
As a champion against maternal and neonatal mortality, the Liberian First Lady recalled that she was particularly attracted to how caregivers in the midwifery section of the health center ‘walked distances or commuted on motor bikes to perform delivery and other related services.’
“I noted with heavy heart as Senator Snowe singled out a midwife by the name Mrs. Sando M.S. Cole, who is the Supervisor of the Reproductive Health Services, and how she makes extra sacrifices to save the lives of precious young Liberians, some of whom could be the next Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Engineers or maybe the future Presidents,” said Mrs. Weah.
“Being a health practitioner myself and most importantly as a mother, I was troubled in my spirit and was moved, without a second thought, to do something.
“Today, in fulfillment of that commitment, I have come to donate to the Suehn-Mecca Health Center a brand new JAC Jeep, which will be used to ease movement to hard-to-reach places in the County and support the work of the facility,” asserted Mrs. Weah.
Meanwhile, the Liberian First Lady expressed profound gratitude to health workers across the country for their commitment to saving precious lives, while praising the exemplary leadership of Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe.
Also speaking, Senator Snowe welcomed Mrs. Weah’s gesture to the Bomi County Health System and pledged his commitment to work with her in various ways to improve the lives of Liberians especially the less fortunate.
In addition to the vehicle, the First Lady presented 500 United States Dollars to Mrs. Sando Cole as a personal token of appreciation for her hard work and dedication to the health sector.
Mrs. Cole along with Bomi County Health Officer Dr. Siana Jackson and other members of the health team was also grateful to the Liberian First Lady.
Finally, the turnover ceremony was graced by First Lady Clar Weah, Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Deputy Minister Norwu Howard; Dr. Siana Jackson, Bomi County Health Officer, Sando Cole, among others.
Felecia Gbesioh Director of Communications, MOH, RL
(October 15, 2021, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia)—Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has hailed Samaritan’s Purse International for supporting and immediately intervening in the delivery of an emergency stock of oxytocin drugs to River Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties, respectively.
Earlier, the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement Project (FARA) initiated the distribution of about 700 virals of oxytocin but was unable to complete the delivery due to the poor road connectivity in the Southeastern region of the Country, which led to FARA’s vehicles stocking mud while transporting the consignments to those Counties for onward distribution to health facilities in the region.
Since 2010, Samaritan’s Purse International has been working with the government of Liberia to provide health services to rural Liberians, first in the basic package of health services (BPHS) program, and now in the essential package of health services (EPHS) program.
During these periods, the Christian Organization has played key roles in mentoring health facility staff in the supervision of Community Health Workers (CHWs), supporting the professional development of CHWs and facilitating the development of positive relationships between communities and the health facilities.
Giving the supportive activities being initiated by Samaritan’s Purse coupled with commitment and dedication to the nation’s health sector, especially during these difficult times of global pandemic, such a partnership must be appreciated and embraced by all.
Meanwhile, Dr Jallah has also extolled both local and international partners for always being committed and supportive to provision of quality health care services delivery to the public in general.
(September 20, 2021, 21st Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with the Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa (CONSA) on today, September 20, 2021, launched newborn screening for sickle cell disease at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC).
“For me sickle cell has been my passion: my thesis for master degree was in sickle cell; I am a sickle cell consoler”, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah told scores of participants at the launch.
The Liberian Health Ministry also admonished medical doctors, nurses, as well as health practitioners to buff efforts in providing health and social counselling for patients of sickle cell for societal integration.
“…But we need to get those who are new—those are the people we need to work with so that they can’t keep producing more sickle cell babies. We need to spend our times; whether it is marriage consoler, or in the churches or wherever, we need to do the counselling. We need to start now to prevent the new cases of sickle cell that will be coming behind us. As we prevent, we need to manage those cases we that have because with the little ones they need constant care.”
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, used the occasion to thank the partners for the support, describing it as incredible.
“The JFK Medical Center is indeed blessed. We are proud of the launch here today”, Dr. Jerry Brown, Chief Medical Officer of the JFK said in a remark. “We’re also going to work alone with you to see how best we all can engage it”
The occasion brought together health professionals from both public and the private sector, government officials including representative from the Department of Pediatrics, Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Liberia Medical and Dental Association, Liberia Medical and Dental Council, among other partners.
The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery (LBNM) and its partners has launched Liberia’s first Digital Online Licensing Examinations System.
The online licensing exams system is intended to improve the LBNM’s operations and bring about professionalism as well as transparency in the country’s health sector. This system will also help students to be efficient and effective as well brings a high level of transparency.
The digital licensing exams system which was launched on September 17, 2021 in Monrovia, brought together health professionals from both public and the private sector, government officials including representative from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana among other partners.
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, speaking during the event thanked the partners for the support. Dr. Jallah said who served as the chief launcher however described the step taken by the LBNM was incredible.
Minister Jallah further noted that as everyone welcomes the digital online examinations system, “we are now leaving the paper based exams behind. She however recommends that students throughout the year should be preparing for the digital exams.
However, Cecilia C. Kpangbala-Flomo, Registrar LBNM, said the initiative was made possible through the kind courtesy of US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, UNFPA, and also supported by the New York University Rory Meyers Collage of Nursing. “Most importantly the Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council was the first took the first step to support this process.
According to Madam Flomo, Liberia is the second to embark on this initiative in the sub region, something which she sees as positive and a great achievement for the country’s health sector.
She further disclosed that it all started in March 2019 when the LBNM Board Chairman and the Registrar attended a meeting in Sierra Lone for the West African Collage of Nursing By-Annual Meeting.
She stated that at that meeting the team from Liberia listened to Mr. Felix Nyante, Registrar from Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council when he presented on an online licensure exam in Ghana, the presentation she said they took interest and approach him (Nyante) so as to embark on this initiative.
At the same time, she told the gathering that in June 2019 they also attended a Conference in Singapore where another presentation was done and draw them more closely to (Mr. Nyante) and “this time around he immediately accepted our proposal.”
As we continue our quest to finding solutions to these enormous problems for our growing student’s population we have the government of Liberia stakeholder’s engagement which started with the LBNM board for approval to go ahead with this digital system today. It also brought together MOH and engaged our partner the National Commission on Higher Education who also embraced this initiative.
Madam Flomo also recalled in August 2021, two of its members including the Registrar (Cecilia C. Kpangbala-Flomo) visited the Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council in Ghana on a study tour where the engagements with counterpart were concluded.
Meanwhile, giving a statistics of schools that they regulate across the country, she indicated that the LBNM have increased overtime in school population. According to her, in 2009 they had about eight (8) schools; and the students’ population for administrating the national board exams was around 200 candidates.
However, she added “when we hit 2014 our school population came up to about 17, being regulated and with this number we had a student population of 500 candidates sitting for the national board exams.”
Currently, they have about 23 schools that are being regulated, and out of that number they have student’s population of 900 and some more. Madam Flomo: “We also have about 18 new applicants who have applied and are currently going through the necessary processes of accreditation. As we know definitely when this number is added to the 23 it means our students population will also increase.”
We have our traditional ways of administering exams which is called the (Paper Based Exams) the LBNM administered her first exam in 1956 from that year up to now we have been operating that system.
Over the years the use of paper based however had huge challenges raging from labor cost, time consumption, security risk, logistical constrains in terms of transporting test to long distances with deplorable roads, especially in the southeast of the country. Ghana’s Ambassador, Felix Nyante, said the partnership between Liberian and Ghana has come a very long way, this he said goes beyond what he calls diplomatic relations. I am glad that we are here to celebrate with the LBNM for this great achievement. He calls for continues collaboration with each other to ensure that the all other countries in the sub-region are supported.
The risk of severe illness from COVID—19 increase with age is something global health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as GAVI and others have recommended adults 65 years and older to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Those health organizations have also placed emphasis on important steps to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19, once people lure to the global vaccination exercise.
As a result, the Ministry of health in collaboration with partners in Liberia have joined this global initiative to rollout nationwide immunization exercises since the arrival of both the AstraZeneca and the J&J vaccines that have been simultaneously or parallelly administered across the nation.
However, the Ministry of Health is expected to vaccinate about 10% of the nation’s total population as mandated by the World Health Organization. This global health benchmark, it is not clear whether the Ministry and Liberian Government would meet up with it, but expectations are surge as health authorities are optimistic of triggering it.
Daily, Liberians are gradually pulling to various vaccination sites across the nation. The Ministry and its partners are also moving into communities to get people vaccinated and tested in order to break the trade of transmission.
However, Joanna Eva George, 99, on September 08, 2021, was among the latest older people to get vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
As a way of providing quality routine health services to the public in general, a team of medical practitioners moved to Mrs. George’s residence, where she received her dose.
“I am Joanna Eva George. I am 99 years and December; I will be 100 years. I was informed by my children about the vaccine; therefore, I decided to be vaccinated,” she narrated.
Explaining the vaccines’ essentiality, Yornweh Ophelia Clemons (her daughter) said it’s important that people take the vaccines for their own safety because the new delta variant of the pandemic is killing people globally.
“People are dying from the virus; so we want our mother to take the vaccines,” Mrs Clemons.
For her part, Mrs Mornjay George Pratt, (another daughter of Mrs Joanna Eva George) lauded the government of President George Manneh Weah for initiating nationwide COVID-19 Vaccines immunization, which her 99 years old mother has formed a part.
“At this time, I like to encourage all of you with all of those theories that are so unprofaned to take their vaccines and wear their masks. I have taken mine and all of our employees, we encouraged to take theirs and they had taken their vaccines”, Mrs Pratt disclosed.
She stressed the need for Liberians to embrace the vaccination and dismiss myth surrounding the vaccines’ safety.
(Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia)—the infrastructure development and the provision of quality health services across the nation are few things among numerous initiatives being undertaken by Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah’s administration since her takeover at the Country’s health sector.
Today, September 6, 2021, an array of government officials joined Dr. Jallah and her team at the Ministry of Health to commission the newly constructed partners building. The new building will host offices of the Expanded Program on Immunization, (EPI) Malaria Control as well as other partners’ offices being housed in the Ministry’s main building in Congo Town.
The partners’ ground building was constructed by the Ministry with support from GAVI through the Expanded Program on Immunization. The 50% completion of the project was implemented by the Afrique Construction and Maintenance Company; worth about nine hundred thousand United States dollars.
In separate remarks, Dr. Jallah and Deputy Minister for Administration, Norwu G. Howard, lauded the government and partners for the level of support and at the same time thanked EPI Manager, Mr. Adolphus Clarke for being very instrumental in bringing forth this initiative, as the Ministry envisages 50% completion of the remaining portion of the building.