By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
The Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) and its implementing partners, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) have launched the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Project.
Adolphus T. Clarke, Expanded Program Manager on Immunization at MOH, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, officiated the launch of Saving Lives and Livelihood (SLL), Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) projects aimed at accelerating vaccination acceptance throughout the country. The event took place at the Compound of LNRCS on Lynch Street, Monrovia.
The SLL-RCCE Project will effectively engage communities in four counties namely: Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu, Bomi, and Cape Mount counties to achieve the quest of high vaccination demand across the Country.
In his address, Mr. Clarke said the 12-Month Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) intervention project will help in accelerating Covid-19 vaccination here to enable the country to reach its target of vaccinating 90 percent of its population.
He said COVID-19 has proved to everyone that partnerships are important, and no country can work in silos in situations of the pandemic, epidemic and other related outbreaks that threaten livelihoods’ He stressed that the project is in support of the Government efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine demands, reduce hesitancy, and enhance uptake in Liberia.
According to him, the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS), through the Ministry of Health (MOH), is implementing Component 4 of the multi-stakeholders country strategy Plan, which focuses on reducing vaccine hesitance and ensuring high vaccine demand in Liberia.
Mr. Clarke explained that the Master Card Foundation funds the (SLL) Project through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which is enhanced through the Liberian Red Cross as part of the Societies implementing Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) a consortium of 4 West African Nation community engagement within the project.
It can be recalled, in February 2022, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) and the Liberia National Red Cross Society developed a National Risk Communication and Community Engagements Work Plan dubbed “Micro Planning Process” that established the systematic and technical components of SLL-RCCE Project.
The LNRCS is in the fourth implementation of the component of the project aimed at ensuring high vaccine demand in Liberia and complementing the national government’s effort to reach at least 90% vaccination rate.
Mr. Clarke commended the Africa CDC for its continued support in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that Liberia’s vaccination rate is 82% and expressed optimism that the SLL-RCCE Project will further support the ministry’s efforts to achieve a 90% Covid-19 vaccination threshold.
He added that Liberia, like most developing countries, has no strength and the muscle to respond to outbreaks, making the SLL-RCCE Project a booster.
For his part, Gregory Blamo, Secretary-General of the LNRCS, who officially launched the SIL project, said the initiative demonstrates an extraordinary commitment and outstanding leadership to leave no stone unturned, and ensure that every eligible person in the country has an opportunity to be fully vaccinated.
He hailed the Ministry of Health and its technical team for their continuous support, as well as thanking all other health partners, including (NPHIL), the National Health Promotion Union (NHPU) and Breakthrough Action-Liberia.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Julius S. M. Gilayeneh Deputy Director of the NPHIL, described the SIL Project launched as a commendable one, which he said is in line with the African CDC COVID-19 vaccine strategy to leave no single country behind and to support all member states at their points of need including Liberia.
Meanwhile, it can be recalled in November 2022, the LNRCS signed a USD$214.000.00 agreement with its counterpart the Red Cross Society of Ivory Coast (the Consortium Lead) to implement the SIL project in a support task to supplement the Government of Liberia’s effort to reach 90% vaccination threshold rate. Liberia currently stands at 82%.
MOH has stated that at least seven counties have low vaccination rates. Therefore, it has become a banding on duties of the LNRCS’ actions to implement in four low-vaccinated counties: Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu, Bomi, and Cape Mount as part of the SIL project.