By Naneka Hoffman
The second joint external evaluation of Liberia’s international health regulations, which started here on Monday this week, ends today, 7th September, at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
The Deputy Director General for Technical Services at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, (NPHIL) Julius S.M. Gilayeneh underscores the need for a faculty pool that will help NPHIL to accept and strengthen Liberia’s health security capability through sectorial collaboration.
He says this is necessary for a more robust, comprehensive, and resilient public system that is capable of responding to public health emergencies with little or no interruption to routine health services, considering proliferation of infectious diseases.
Mr. Gilayeneh notes that other public health threats may be largely due to impact of increased globalization as a result of climax change and its adverse effects on the environment.
Deputy Minister of Health, Norwu Howard, says the reason why critical gaps exist, is the health sector’s inability to keep the society concertize.
She says when she read the LF bulletin, and saw statistics on Lassa Fever, raps and other preventable diseases, “I am reminded that we in this room are fully aware of what we need to do, in the face of pandemics and epidemic.”
Meanwhile, she notes sensitizing community leaders and lessons learned can make significant changes, while commending WHO and all partners for helping the health sector to get to this level of preparedness, including staff of the ministry.
WHO Country Representative, Dr. Clement Peter, notes that evaluation is vital in assessing the nation’s capabilities in preventing, detecting, and responding to public health threats and situations in accordance with guidelines set out in the international health regulations.
He describes the exercise as a moment to reflect on where Liberia came from and where it is heading as a country, stressing the importance of doing more in the country’s health sector.
He recalls that in 2015, when Liberia had Ebola, the first reaction was to look at capacities that existed to implement, and a good national action plan was developed to strengthen the national capacities.
“Liberia has moved on with its own full capacity to fight the pandemic. However, we should be able to improve on other areas that have gaps and build on the aspects of properness and response. Let us remember that this work is not done in isolation; it is based on the health system”, Dr. Peter reminds.
He notes that Liberia has made tremendous progress, it is important to note that success cannot be celebrated alone, but to look at challenges as well.
The “Joint External Evaluation” (JEE) which is geared towards comprehensively assessing Liberia’s core health capacities, marks a significant milestone in the country’s commitment to global health security. Editing by Jonathan Browne