Liberia: National Public Health Boss Resigns


FLORIDA – The Director-General of the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL), Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, has tendered in his resignation to President George M. Weah, an Executive Mansion source has informed FrontPageAfrica.

FPA gathered that he tendered in his resignation on October 9, 2019 and might vacate office on November 29, 2019.

According to the Executive Mansion source, Mr. Nyenswah only stated “extenuating circumstances and family obligations” as reasons for this resignation.

It is not clear whether his resignation has been accepted by President Weah.

Mr. Nyenswah is the second high profile official resigning from the Weah-led administration. Mr. Alex Cuffy who served as the Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was the first to resign – a resignation which was kept secret by the Executive Mansion even though the resignation letter leaked to social media. Mr. Cuffy also cited “family reasons” as the trigger for his resignation.

The National Public Health Institute was established on January 26, 2017, by an Act of the Legislature, to prevent and control public health threats, post the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic that devastated Liberia’s public health system, resulting in over 11,000 cases and close to 5,000 deaths.

Mr. Nyenswah served as the first Director-General. Prior to heading NPHIL, he headed the Incident Manager of the Incident Management System, responsible for leading and coordinating every aspect of Liberia’s National Ebola Response activities that brought the epidemic to a halt. 

Under his stewardship at NPHIL, Mr. Nyenswah succeeded in securing from the United States (U.S.) Government and the World Bank Group, over twenty (20) million U.S. dollars ($20 million), to construct the National Reference Laboratory and NPHIL headquarters in Congo Town, now in the second phase of construction.

NPHIL also secured US$15 million from the World Bank for a three-year epidemiologic surveillance activities throughout Liberia.

Mr. Nyenswah served as Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Control, in the Dept. of Public Health, created within the Ministry of Health as a new Department, following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first declaration, in May 2015, that Liberia was free of Ebola in the human population. 

He has served in various capacities at the Ministry of Health including office assistant in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (now Ministry of Health), in 1999, Assistant Minister of Health and Deputy Chief Medical Office for Preventive Services (2012-2015); Deputy Program Manager of the National Malaria Control Program (2007-2011), serving concurrently as Acting Program Manager for two years (2009-2011).