The Government of Liberia and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF-France) have signed a host country agreement which formalizes and solidifies the organization’s operation in Liberia.
A Foreign Ministry release said, Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while the Country Representative (Head of Mission) of MFS-France, Renée Madrolle signed on behalf of her organization. The signing ceremony took place at the ministry’s conference room on Thursday, August 31, 2017.
MSF, an international medical and humanitarian organization providing independent, impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance since 1971 through its operational sections, have agreed to act jointly under a common MSF Liberia Office to run their humanitarian and medical activities in a more effective, efficient and sustainable way that will better meet the needs of the population.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Foreign Minister Kamara extended thanks and appreciation to MSF-France for the many invaluable contributions it has rendered Liberia especially during critical humanitarian crisis, reflecting on the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
“I want to start by saying a big thank you for your support and your many engagements in Liberia over the years as well as the valuable contributions you have made and continue to make around the world,” she said, adding, “Let me also welcome you to Liberia and say how much we appreciate your efforts and initiative to formalize your presence here through this agreement.”
Minister Kamara specifically recognized the prominent role that MSF played during the height of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014.
Liberia’s top diplomat told the MSF delegation that Liberia was very pleased to see MSF back anchoring a legal framework that will support its stay in the country; noting that the MSF is a reliable partner that the people of Liberia can build collaboration with in the future.
“I know your work is to response to emergency situations very well; however, I am glad that you are going into other development areas. So I want to thank you for taking your operations to a higher level,” she added.
Foreign Minister Kamara said Liberia looks forward to strengthening its collaboration with MSF – France, especially in addressing the critical health needs of its citizens and residents here.
For his part, the President of MSF-France, Dr. Maguerditch Terzian, on behalf of his delegation, extended gratitude to Minister Kamara for the reception accorded them and expressed delight over the signing of the host country agreement. “We are very honored to be here and to enter into an agreement with Liberia,” he said.
Dr. Terzian indicated that he is delighted to be back in Monrovia where he had built a personal and special relationship with the people while on a humanitarian mission as medical doctor 15 years ago.
He informed Minister Kamara that during the nation’s civil crisis, he served as medical doctor at several medical facilities in Montserrado, Lofa and Nimba counties; adding, “I am pleased to be back on assignment in Liberia after formalizing our presence with Liberia and Liberians through the signing of this agreement,” he stressed.
He stressed that his organization is here to collaborate and contribute meaningfully to the country’s development initiatives and to expand its engagement in health sector after the Ebola epidemic.
Dr. Terzian further assured Minister Kamara and Liberia that his organization will focus on providing health care services in the areas of pediatric surgery and mental health.
MSF began its work in Liberia in 1990 providing emergency health care for refugees and IDPs, as well as improving access to health care. During its first period in Liberia (1990-2012), MSF developed several primary and secondary health care activities in different hospitals including the Island Hospital, Redemption Hospital, Mamba Point Hospital, Benson Hospital and JDJ Hospital. During that period, all MSF sections were deployed in Liberia and every county benefitted along the years from various medical and logistical support MSF developed. The last MSF teams left Liberia in 2012.
In 2014, MSF came back in Liberia to support the response to the devastating Ebola outbreak in the Mano River Union basin.
Following the Ebola epidemic, MSF France decided to focus its activity on improving infection control in health facilities and restoring in-patient capacities especially for pediatrics. In this context, MSF – France opened a Pediatric Referral Hospital at the Barnersville Junction in March 2015.