IREDD First Survey Report on Liberia’s COVID-19 Fight Highlights Lack of Transparency and Accountability in Budgetary Allocation and Appropriation

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Monrovia – The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has released findings from its first survey conducted on improving Liberia’s Covid-19 response and recovery process highlighting the lack of transparency and accountability in budgetary allocation and appropriation.

IREDD Executive Director Matthias Yeanay speaking at the press conference in Monrovia Tuesday said the government from the onset of the Covid-19 fight developed a comprehensive National Covid-19 Response Plan involving coordinated engagements amongst the Health Ministry, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and other multi-sectors but the adequate implementation of the said plan has been a serious challenge.

Yeanay said, “There is a lack of transparency and accountability in budgetary allocation and appropriation at the local level and low public perception on the efficacy of the vaccine against Covid-19.”

He added: “IREDD likes to call the government, especially the legislature to do all in its powers to appropriate the special budget under legislative review for the remainder of the fiscal year 2021 in ways that emphasize targets against COVID-19 and ensure that the implementation of the budget does not deviate unjustifiably from efforts geared toward the fight.”

According to him, the key amongst the implementation challenges are limited awareness amongst citizens on measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

 “As regards awareness, the population still have limited information on ways to prevent COVID-19 even though the focus is on mask-wearing but not how to safely wear a mask, how to remove and dispose of it,” IREDD Executive Director Mathias Yeanay said.

IREDD Executive Director added: “For this reason, many mask-wearing persons throughout the three counties monitored could be seen wearing masks on their chains instead of properly covering the nose and mouth.”

The survey was conducted from May 10-21, 2021 at the beginning of the third wave of the COVID-19.

Improving Liberia’s covid-19 response and recovery survey are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the United States-based organization tides in partnership with innovation for change Africa.

Yeanay said the project requires IREDD to collect Liberia’s COVD-19 response and recovery data and assess whether public health facilities across the country are receiving and properly accounting for direct budgeted medical support to combat the widespread of COVID-19 in Liberia.

The project he says also monitor procedures and processes public health centers have employed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia.

Yeanay said IREDD randomly selected 20 public health facilities across Montserrado, Margibi, and Nimba Counties for the first phase of the monitoring.

The survey, he says reveals compelling transparency and accountability related issues amongst health facilities in the three counties.

“Many public health facilities lack direct budgetary support and have in place limited data for real-time accountability for other drugs and medical supplies provided by the Ministry of Health and partners,” he said.

Yealue also calls on the Ministry of Health to decentralize the rollout of vaccines to every public health center so as to ensure that every Liberian has the opportunity to be vaccinated.

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