The Director General of the newly established National Public Health of Liberia or NPHIL Attorney Tolbert Nyenswa, says the institution will not tolerate violation of public health regulations from individuals involved in businesses that pose serious threat to the wellbeing of citizens and residents.
Addressing reporters on Thursday, 20 July at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism regular briefing on Capitol Hill, he says many diseases that hamper or affect the wellbeing of citizens across the country is as the result of businesses involved in food sale, including Cook Shops, and contaminated mineral water, among others.
Attorney Nyenswa explains part of the mandate of NPHIL is to strengthen the capacity of Liberians in the Sciences to conduct laboratory research in finding out diseases, adding, “Because we all know prevention is key; it is against that we are putting more emphasis on prevention disease and control to save lot of money on curing diseases.”
He stresses that issue of food safety, water and other items that are for public consumption are well tested by NPHIL, and on such basis the institution shut down 55 mineral water companies in Montserrado County and its environs.
According to him, the action was taken based on three major grounds, including production of contaminated water, poor sanitary environment, and illegal operation.The NPHIL director-general continues that the main reason behind the closure of those companies is as the result of contaminated bacteria or microorganisms that were found in the water they produced, noting, “They are unfit for human consumption, and this is the reason they received huge support from relevant institutions, including the Ministry of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy, and the Justice Ministry to enforce the order.”
“This was not a surprise to them, we took a month to go around Monrovia and its environs to assess about 125 companies that were considered unfit, and we noticed that 160 were operating in Monrovia and its environs alone and also the exercise will continue to those companies we never visited.”
The NPHIL boss says the main targets include bacteria and other harmful substances that pose threats to the wellbeing of the citizens.However, he notes that the closure is not perpetual but to allow the affected companies fix what was considered unfit during the inspection in order to do the right thing before they can be allowed to reopen.
Mr. Nyenswa told newsmen recently at his Congo Town office that the closing down of the water companies followed a 30-day joint inspection exercise in Montserrado County by inter-governmental ministries and agencies.
He details that during the month-long exercise, 125 water producing companies were inspected of which 55 were discovered producing unfit water for human consumption, stressing that the affected water companies will remain closed pending the improvement of their services and environments.
Attorney Nyenswah adds that equipment of the affected companies will be confiscated to ensure that they do not produce water behind the scene, assuring that his institution and collaborating entities are prepared to ensure that only quality water is sold on the Liberian market for consumption.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne