Nyenswah Confident of Liberia’s Preparedness to Diagnose Diseases
Fendell, Montserrado – Tolbert Nyenswah, the Executive Director of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), says refurbishing and dedicating Liberia’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory signifies that the country is becoming more capacitated to deal with diseases of public health and economic importance in the agriculture sector.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah 00231777039231 [email protected]
Speaking in Fendall, Montserrado County, during the turning over of Liberia’s only veterinary diagnostic laboratory that was refurbished by FAO and partners, Nyenswah said Liberia has been faced with problem of having the capacity to diagnose disease and their causes and that inauguration of a the lab signals its readiness to implement the one health platform.
The NPHIL boss disclosed that Liberia now has an action plan for the global security agenda. He referenced the laboratory for human health in the country that can detect about 11 diseases that could cause public health crisis.
“What I am saying is: we can know what happen to Laser Fever in our lab – the human lab – by testing it in our human health lab and we can also know about what’s happening to measles, Ebola and the rest of our diseases,” he said.
Nyenswah said since the upgrade of these diagnostic and testing capacities, Liberia has documented 3801 cases of animal bites in Liberia of which 18 associated deaths have been reported, and one case of animal rabies confirmed.
This, according to him, derived from the effort of the Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where tests have confirmed Rabies.
With this project, he noted that Liberia must now be readied to combat animal infectious diseases at various border points.
At the same time, Agriculture Minister Dr. Mogana Flomo, Jr. noted that the one health platform is important in promoting the prevention of disease in the country.
“We spent a lot of time spending money for people to be treated at a lot of health facilities, when we have not even hear of equipment we should have at the hospitals to be able to treat illnesses. So, the only thing we can do is to reduce the case load at the health facilities,” Dr. Flomo averred.
This can only be made possible when the One Health Platform is in full swing, he said.
Dr. Flomo emphasized the need for the University of Liberia, Ministry of Health, NPHIL, Ministry of Agriculture and other national institutions join efforts to ensure training of people who will be able to sustain the lab as a way of strengthening the On Health Platform.
Meanwhile, Mariatou Njie, FAO Country Representative to Liberia, expressed the need that food security is taken seriously in Liberia.
Njie also expressed dismay that poverty and food insecurity prevalent across the country, which she said are becoming “particularly acute” in rural Liberia.
“With a population of 4.5 million people in Liberia, food insecurity affects 16 percent of households, including 2 percent that are severely food insecure,” Madam Njie lamented.
Madam Njie believes if the process of food security must be a priority, animal health is essential because bulk of the food consume by human comes from animal.
She then lauded USAID for the support in ensuring that the lab process becomes a reality.