National Public Health Institute of Liberia Begins County Tour to Tackle Lassa Fever
MONROVIA – A joint delegation of from the Ministry of Health, National Public Health Institute, World Health Organization, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF has begun a three-day Lassa Fever Outbreak Community Dialogue in Bong, Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties.
The delegation is headed by Dr. Mosoka Fallah, acting Director-General of the National Public Health Institute.
The delegation began their roundtable discussion with local health authorities at the Phebe Hospital on Saturday in Bong County. During the interactive program, Dr. Fallah said the dialogue is aimed at finding practical solutions to Lassa fever in the three Counties.
Dr. Fallah said at least four Lassa fever isolation centers will be constructed while health authorities and partners work to build a strong surveillance system with communities.
Also speaking, Bong County Health Officer, Dr. Adolphus Yea named the lack of equipment and limited staff at the Lassa fever isolation center as challenges against the fight of the disease.
Dr. Yea thanked the delegation for coming to access the condition of public health in the County and called for stronger community engagement to contain the spread of Lassa fever.
Also speaking at the program, the Country Director for the United States Center for Disease Control, Dr. Desmond Williams called for a Lassa Fever Containment Policy to be adopted as a national document.
Dr. Williams said adopting the Policy as a National instrument will give national support to the fight against Lassa fever in Liberia.
The CDC boss also called for called for collective action to be taken against the wave of Lassa fever outbreaks in the Country.
According to him, the disease is fast becoming a national threat needs to be fought with a robust strategy to distinguish it from ordinary malaria.
Also speaking, the Country Director of World Health Organization, Dr. Mesfin Zbelo assured of the WHO’s support to the fight against Lassa fever.
Dr. ZBelo challenged Bong County Health authorities to concentrate on community-based engagements.
On the second-leg of the tour in Margibi County on Sunday, the delegation visited various places including whong near Weala and the C. H Rennie Hospital where they toured various facilities and also interacted with residents of various communities.
During the roundtable in Margibi on Sunday, the Superintendent Jerry Barney said delay in salary payment for health workers is undermining the health service delivery in the County.
Superintendent Varney said health workers are abandoning their assignments especially in rural areas due to the delay.
Also speaking, Margibi County Health Officer Dr. Myer Pajibo said three cases of Lassa fever have been reported since the outbreak in 2018.
Dr. Pajibo said the shortage of medical supplies and the shortage of staff at the only Lassa fever isolation center in the County remain a challenge to the fight against the disease.
The delegation is on its way to Grand Bassa County on the final leg of its three-county tour which ends on Monday, November 18, 2019.