Liberia: Minister of Health Attributes COVID-19 Infections among Health Workers to ‘State of Denial’ of Nurses

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Health Minister Wilhelimina Jallah told the Liberian Senate that most nurses in Liberia are not adhering to health protocols and have been careless with their own protection against the coronavirus

MONROVIA – Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah says, the infection rate of COVID-19 among nurses will continue to increase unless nurses themselves start to believe that the virus is real and it exists in Liberia. She warned health workers to abide by health protocols.

During a Senate appearance on Wednesday, she informed Senators that some health workers are still in doubt and denial about the existence of the coronavirus and are being “careless” in how they handle their patents at various health centers.

Minister Jallah: “Some of them don’t believe that COVID-19 exists in the country, some are not practicing all of the hand hygiene, and health measures, some are taking care of patients at home in small clinics. Some of them are being infected from their own private institutions but we have been working with healthcare workers to ensure that we review what they already know in terms of hygiene and precautionary measures.

“We have gotten together some algorithm (procedure) that they can use on any patient that comes in to be able to have a check list where they can determine the symptoms of COVID-19. We are constantly working with health care working along with our partners. We are constantly sending materials to the counties to ensure that the infection rate.  We are constantly on zoom calls.”

“Some of them don’t believe that COVID-19 exists in the country, some are not practicing all of the hand hygiene, and health measures, some are taking care of patients at home in small clinics. Some of them are being infected from their own private institutions but we have been working with healthcare workers to ensure that we review what they already know in terms of hygiene and precautionary measures.”

– Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Minister of Health

Responding to question about what kind of treatment is being given to people infected with COVID-19 and taken to the 14 Military Hospital and other health centers in Liberia she said, “One of the reasons we move people from their homes to the treatment unit is to isolate them. In the Military Hospital, we have an ICU and also in the UNION hospital. If people were honest enough to stay in their homes we will allow them to stay in their homes.”

She also told lawmakers the imposition of the first state of emergency saw a sharp decline in the cases of COVID-19. “After the first phase of the state of emergency we noticed a sharp declined, because people were abiding by the protocol, there were limited movement, people staying off the streets after 3:00. But when the second phase of the state of emergency was announced and curfew extended to 6;00 pm people thought they were okay so they stop wearing masks.”

Asked whether it is possible to conduct testing for every citizen, the head of the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) Dr. Mosaka Fallah said it is s impossible to test everyone in Liberia, firstly the cost for testing and the duration to do one test cannot allow Liberia to do it.

Currently, Liberia has 102 healthcare workers infected with COVID-19, the total death rate of COVID-19 is at 41. The Country also has 13 of its 15 counties responding to COVID-19.

Montserrado, Bong and Nimba Counties have become epic centers with more than two or three hotspots in each county.

In March of this year, Liberia’s COVID-19 cases were at three. In April it was at 149 and in May it was at 144, and the number rose to 508 in June. According to the Liberia’s Health Minister study has shown that male are 2/3rd more affected then female in the age range less than 15 with increase rate. “In the beginning, the cases were mostly diagnosed in the order folks but now the disease is going to the younger ages.”

During the Senate appearance, the Health Minister also informed Lawmakers that 80% of people affected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic meaning (they walk around without showing any symptoms of the disease) but are capable of infecting people they come in contact with.

“So, they walk around not knowing they have COVID-19 and spread the disease. The fact that Liberia along with the rest of the African countries have a predominantly young population you will see why we have those people infecting the other people. 

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