Second Nat’l Science Conference ‘Lifts Up’ Liberia’s Profile – VP Taylor
Monrovia – Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has praised the conduct of the second annual Emmet Dennis National Scientific Conference, saying that it is being held “to lift up the profile of Liberia” and “allow various scientific works that have taken place over the years to be discussed and recommendations made.”
Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, [email protected]
VP Taylor added that the conference “goes beyond” Liberia’s contribution to global health security against “Malaria and Ebola” based on specific lessons learned by the country.
Madam Taylor was speaking at the opening of the conference in Monrovia on Tuesday, August 27. The confrence is being held under the theme ‘Strengthening Global Health security – the Liberian experience’.
The three-day event has brought together Liberian scientists, doctors, public health experts and students.
It is being graced by several international partners of the health sector including the US Center for Disease Control, the National health Institute, Africabio Enterprises, WHO, USAID, Prevail, and GIZ among others
The conference, which had its maiden edition in 2018, sets the stage to “deliberate on progress made and discuss new events in public health and other related fields of science” in Liberia.
Outlining the key issues she expects the conference to address, Vice President Taylor mentioned the lessons learnt from Liberia and other countries in West Africa that suffered the raft of the Ebola epidemic, Liberia’s experiences for putting in place “serious system” for disease surveillance, and how the country reinforced its commitment to building a resilient and effective public health system “which detects outbreaks very, very early; provides proper surveillance and stop the spread of contagious diseases and prevent outbreaks”.
She then emphasized that the government has captured important health issues in “pillar one of the Pro-Poor Agenda,” that focuses on “access to affordable and available health care system”.
According to her, she expects scientists and health experts attending the conference to make decisions that would improve Liberia’s health index.
“Conferences such as these are very important as stakeholders gather to discuss current and future trends in the field of study, discuss ways to tackle critical issues, consider options for scientific research, development and cooperate and learn about new research tools and relevant technologies,” she said.
She also lauded the “women and men in the health sectors for their great sacrifices that help move the health sector forward in spite of many challenges”.
Earlier, Tolbert Nyenswah, Director General of NPHIL who introduced the conference, recalled his encounters with Dr. Dennis – in whose name the conference is in honor – and Dr. Walter Gwenigale – former Minister of Health – for their significant role he played in the country’s science and health research sector.
Mr. Nyenswah also recounted the challenges the health sector faced in dealing with myths and misconceptions about the Ebola virus disease during the outbreak.
But he added that Liberia can now boost of its experience that is now benefiting the DR Congo, an East African nation currently battling with the EVD epidemic.
DR Congo, however, is now benefiting from Ebola vaccines that were developed in the West Africa region including Liberia, he said.
“And so research has taken root in our country,” he stressed, while lauding Liberian scientists, public health experts and students for their contributions.
“We have to move it [research] to the next level; we the next generation of researchers – [and] this [is] why this program [is all about]”.
Later, Vice President Taylor hailed Dr. Dennis for the “lot of new improvements” at the University of Liberia, while mentioning that acknowledging veteran the educator shows that the country “appreciates the hard work, diligence, commitment and sacrifice of those who have worked” for Liberia.
She also thanked NPHIL and the Ministry of Health for the “leadership necessary” for the health care sector despite the challenges the sector endures.
The VP then mentioned that the government has worked to “increase funding to the health sector including salaries adjustments for nurses, adding on additional health care workers and encouraging all of our partners and donors to continue the engagements toward helping make a Liberia’s health system better and more resilient.”