Liberia: Health NGO RPI Launches Covid-19 Community Engagement Program

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Madam Franzetta Of RPI Speaking To A Cross Section Of Health Workers And Community Residents

MONROVIA – In continuation of its numerous engagements in the fight against the rapidly spread coronavirus disease, the internationally acclaimed health NGO Refuge Place International-Liberia has launched a covid-19 community response mechanism.

Established by the former Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Mosoka P. Fallah, RPI is working across Liberia to improve health outcomes for poor communities in Liberia. The health NGO aims to create a replicable health care model for urban slums and poor rural communities in Liberia, with the goal of reducing the high maternal, neonatal and child mortality rate and making quality health care accessible to all.

The RPI’s covid-19 community response mechanism was launched Monday, August 9, 2021, at the organization’s Maternal and Child in the Chicken Soup Factory Community in the Township of Gardinersville near Monrovia.

Speaking on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Fallah at the launch of the community response mechanism, the Chief of Office Staff to the CEO Madam Franzetta Nyanford said, the initiative is in continuation of the organization’s covid-19 intervention and part of an effort to buttress the Government of Liberia (GoL) in tackling the virus out of the country.

She pointed out the launch of the program is in furtherance of a previous efforts by the group – RPI in helping the Liberian government under the stewardship of President George Manneh Weah to achieve its goal of kicking out the disease from the country.

It can be recalled that the group on July 19 donated 44 oxygen regulators to the Star Base Treatment Unit on the Bushrod Island on the outskirt of Monrovia before donating a batch of 57 to central government authorities through the Ministry of Health a forth night ago as well as an additional 57 to major health centers inclusive of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, the ELWA Hospital, the Redemption Hospital, the Jackson F. Doe Hospital and St. Joseph Catholic Hospital.

“As you are aware, we have made donations to the Star Base Treatment Center, the Ministry of Health for the counties, JFK Hospital, ELWA Hospital, JDJ Hospital, Redemption Hospital and the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital for the treatment of patients and suspected cases,” said the Madam Nyanford, who is also a sister to Dr. Fallah. 

As part of the response mechanism, Madam Nyanford explained that RPI will work with catchment communities of Bassa Town, Gulf Community, and Chicken Soup Factory with a total population of 52,000 a list of community-based strategies.

She named the strategies as the deployment of handwashing stations at major intersections, provision of covid-19 prevention messages through posters and banners at different places in the communities and provision of thousands of free masks as well as sensitization messages.

Also as part of the strategies, she disclosed that RPI will stimulate the local economy by working with local groups to produce masks and local liquid soap for handwashing, shift the focus of community health workers to providing door-to-door health promotion messages to all households the catchment areas and procure megaphones for community messaging.

“Finally, to support the national response, we will sponsor several radio talk shows on the prevention of the deadly covid-19 virus. Dr. Fallah wants to use this opportunity to challenge other Liberians in the diaspora to join forces in their different localities to buttress the covid-19 response activities of our national government through the Incident Management System (IMS),” Madam Nyanford among other things added.

Dr. Adams K. Lincoln, Program Manager of Healthcare Federation of Liberia (HFL), noted that the launch of the RPI-Liberia community response mechanism for covid-19 demonstrates the readiness and preparedness of the private health sector to support the national covid-19 response.

He indicated that evidence-based information clearly documents that the involvement and active participation of communities in the prevention and control activities are critical to the containment of infectious disease outbreaks.

“The importance of empowering communities to take the required actions to protect themselves as well as identifying suspected cases and linking these suspected cases with the health system for appropriate action cannot be over-emphasized,” Lincoln told the gathering. 

According to him, the lesson learned from the Ebola crisis indicates that it was the active participation of communities in identifying suspected Ebola cases and linking these suspected cases with the health system for appropriate actions that led to the interruption in the transmission chain and subsequent containment of the virus in Liberia. 

“It is hoped that the launch of the RPI-Liberia community response mechanism for covid-19 would be an impetus for an organized approach to community empowerment and participation in the national response to covid-19,” he stated.

Mr. Stanley Duwor, Community Health Worker Coordinator, explained that during the course of the mechanism, RPI will remain engaged with leaders of the three targeted communities and their 17 blocks in planning, implementation and gathering feedback from covid-19 response activities to take appropriate action(s) to ensure adherence to prevention and protocols.

He said as part of their duties, community health workers will distribute flyers, brochures and stickers in targeted communities.

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