MONROVIA — The Director General of the West African Health Organization WAHO, Professor Stanley Okoro has participated in the Commissioning Program of the BO-Waterside Health Center located in Liberia’s western County of Grand Cape Mount. Liberia’s President Dr. George Manneh Weah, a high powered Sierra Leonean Delegation, chiefs, elders, women and youth groups graced the event which took place on Friday, March 26, 2021.
During the ceremony, Prof. Okoro reiterated his Organization’s readiness in continuing its exemplary collaboration with Liberia’s Ministry of Health for the continued strengthening of its health system and for the primary benefit of the people of Liberia and by proximity, the people of Sierra Leone. The construction of the Health Center was funded by WAHO.
Representing H.E. Jean Claude Kasi BROU, President of the ECOWAS Commission, the WAHO Director General noted that in support of the people of Liberia through its Ministry of Health, WAHO has provided technical and financial support including provision for the construction of the Bo-Waterside facility and necessary training of health care workers.
In addition Professor Okoro said during the COVID-19 pandemic, WAHO helped procure diagnostics, medical equipment and PPEs which were first delivered in August of 2020, with another batch expected soon.
He assured the Liberian President that WAHO is committed to continuing this level of support and more to the Republic of Liberia through the Ministry of Health.
Commenting further on the construction of the Bo-Waterside facility, Professor Stanley Okoro who has been heading WAHO since March 2018 said, it started in 2017 as a result of lessons learned from the 2014 to 2016 Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa. Continuing, he said after his first visit in 2018, he was even more determined to see this project come to fruition, pointing out that the Friday, March 26, 2021 commissioning ceremony comes at a moment where they see the vital importance of effective surveillance and response strategies. He said WAHO provided financial support in the amount of approximately 440,000 US Dollars towards completion of the facility; while the Liberian Ministry of Health procurement unit then ensured the on-ground procurement of workers while being supervised by the procurement unit at WAHO.
Professor Stanley Okoro, an obstetrician and gynecologist told President George Manneh Weah and guests at the ceremony that the BO-Water Health Center has within its facilities: Ante Natal Care/Post Natal Care/EPI Department Out-Patient Department Utilities Laboratory Operating Theater Consultation Rooms Emergency Room Pediatric, Male and Female Wards Isolation and Short-Stay Wards Pharmacy Staff Quarters (2-bedroom duplex) Water Tower Generator House.
The WAHO DG further said the choice of location of the facility was strategically placed at the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone, to improve cross-border surveillance and ensure that citizens from Sierra Leone would also benefit from services offered at the Health Center.
In his concluding statement, the Director General of the Wester African Health Organization Professor Stanley Okoro touched on the desired Next Steps as steps they have always asked themselves, how do they sustain this? He said part of lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic was that some Member States closed their borders early-on when WHO declared the virus a pandemic; indicating that the closure of borders led to the economic depression and extreme suffering of some West African citizens. Professor Okoro said as they prepare for the next pandemic, they will work towards mitigating this suffering by ensuring that they have sufficient surveillance mechanisms at reduced border points and up to standard infrastructure such as isolation facilities, so that they need not close their borders again.
Briefly speaking, the Liberian Leader President George Manneh Weah thanked the West African Health Organization on behalf of the government and people of Liberia for what he described as a milestone gesture. According to President George Weah, the BO-Watersider Health Center is the fruit of the longstanding cooperation that has existed between Liberia and WAHO.
President Weah further expressing gratitude noted the particular significance of the facility to both Liberia and Sierra Leone. He asked Professor Stanley Okoro to extend his best regards to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis