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COVID-19 response lacks measurable progress

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Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah is requesting for additional resources to boost the government’s response strategy in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the government here seems to be overwhelmed by the exponential growth in confirmed cases from initially two in mid-March to nearly 950 with 41 deaths currently. What is very certain is that both infection and death rates are consistently at the top of the curve.

Health Minister Jallah is asking members of the Liberian Senate to allot resources to enhance community engagement and empowerment, inviting church leaders and other religious leaders in the country to join the fight.

Her colleague from the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Dr. MosokaFallah stresses voluntary testing and strict adherence to treatment isolation protocols.

However, what the health authorities are not telling the public and policymakers, including President George Manneh Weah is “clear, measurable, and easy-to understand” indicators on progress made in the fight in the words of ex-finance ministerAugustine KpeheNgafuan when he appeared on a live talk show in May.

He said relying more on the advice of health authorities during a health crisis is the prudent thing to do, but that the Liberian people deserve more concrete and detailed indicators to justify the extension of State of Emergency and lockdown than a nebulous unresolved crisis.

“As far as we know, the Corona virus crisis will remain unresolved for the next year or so until the global community develops a solution through the development of an efficacious vaccine or drug”, he emphasized.

In other words, we are as a country, going to live with the crisis for the rest of the year and perhaps beyond, so focus should be placed on containment, constant monitoring and evaluation to come out with indicators that the public can trust, which is not happening.

Instead, we see a gradual but steady increase in new confirmed cases and number of deaths! That is scaring and disturbing. Twelve graders are returning to school to prepare for WASSEC without proper preventive health measures in places on various school campuses.

Rather than just requesting for more resources we join Ngafuan in calling on the authorities to explain in clear terms the epidemiological curve of Corona virus cases in Liberia, as such a curve will show, even on a rough basis, how the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths are expected to evolve over time, under various scenarios, which could include a no lockdown, a more relaxed lockdown, a partial lockdown or total lockdown.

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