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Refuge Place International launches Covid-19 community engagement program

Refuge Place International-Liberia, a national charity, has launched a Covid-19 community response mechanism in Monrovia.

Established by the former director-general of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Doctor Mosoka P. Fallah, RPI is working across Liberia to improve health outcomes for poor communities. The health NGO aims to create a replicable health care model for urban slums and poor rural communities in Liberia, with the goal of reducing high maternal, neonatal, and child mortality rates and making quality health care accessible to all.

The RPI’s covid-19 community response mechanism was launched Monday, August 9, 2021, at the organization’s Maternal and Child-care center in Chicken Soup Factory Community, Gardnersville Township along Japan Freeway in the suburb of Monrovia.

Speaking on behalf of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Fallah at the launch of the community response mechanism, the Chief of Office Staff, Madam Franzetta Nyanford said, the initiative is in continuation of the organization’s Covid-19 intervention and an effort to buttress the Government of Liberia (GoL) in tackling the virus out of the country.

She pointed out the launch of the program is in furtherance of a previous effort by RPI in helping the Liberian government under the stewardship of President George Manneh Weah to achieve its goal of kicking out the disease.

On July 19, the charity donated 44 oxygen regulators to StarBase Treatment Unit on Bushrod Island on the outskirt of Monrovia before donating a batch of 57 to the Ministry of Health and an additional 57 to major health centers inclusive of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, the ELWA Hospital, the Redemption Hospital, the Jackson F. Doe Hospital, and St. Joseph Catholic Hospital.

“As you are aware, we have made donations to the Star Base Treatment Center, the Ministry of Health for the counties, JFK Hospital, ELWA Hospital, JDJ Hospital, Redemption Hospital, and the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital for the treatment of patients and suspected cases,” said the Madam Nyanford, who is also a sister to Dr. Fallah. 

She explained that as part of the response mechanism, RPI will work with catchment communities – Bassa Town, Gulf Community, and Chicken Soup Factory with a total population of 52,000 in designing community-based strategies.

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She named the strategies as the deployment of handwashing stations at major intersections, provision of covid-19 prevention messages through posters and banners at different places in the communities, and provision of thousands of free masks as well as sensitization messages.

She also disclosed RPI will stimulate the local economy by working with local groups to produce masks and local liquid soap for handwashing, shift the focus of community health workers to providing door-to-door health promotion messages to households in the catchment areas and procure megaphones for community messaging.

“Finally, to support the national response, we will sponsor several radio talk shows on the prevention of the deadly covid-19 virus. Dr. Fallah wants to use this opportunity to challenge other Liberians in the diaspora to join forces in their different localities to buttress the covid-19 response activities of our national government through the Incident Management System (IMS),” Madam Nyanford among other things added.

Dr. Adams K. Lincoln, Program Manager of Healthcare Federation of Liberia (HFL), noted that the launch of the RPI-Liberia community response mechanism for covid-19 demonstrates the readiness and preparedness of the private health sector to support the national covid-19 response.

He indicated that evidence-based information clearly documents that the involvement and active participation of communities in the prevention and control activities are critical to the containment of infectious disease outbreaks.

“The importance of empowering communities to take the required actions to protect themselves as well as identifying suspected cases and linking these suspected cases with the health system for appropriate action cannot be over-emphasized,” Lincoln told the gathering. 

According to him, the lesson learned from the Ebola crisis indicates that it was the active participation of communities in identifying suspected Ebola cases and linking these suspected cases with the health system for appropriate actions that led to the interruption in the transmission chain and subsequent containment of the virus in Liberia. 

Mr. Stanley Duwor, Community Health Worker Coordinator, explained that during the course of the mechanism, RPI will remain engaged with leaders of the three targeted communities and their 17 blocks in planning, implementation, and gathering feedback from covid-19 response activities to take appropriate action(s) to ensure adherence to prevention and protocols.

He said as part of their duties, community health workers will distribute flyers, brochures, and stickers in targeted communities. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/rpi-extends-more-support-covid-19-fight/Editing by Jonathan Browne

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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