At a colorful ceremony held on Friday, November 7, at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, the Vice President of Liberia, Hon. Joseph N. Boakai received a consignment of clinical gloves from the people of Malaysia through Sime Darby Plantation.
The 5.7 million clinical gloves are intended to help the Liberian government towards the Ebola fight currently taking place. The donation was made through the Malaysian company Sime Darby and was received by Vice President Joseph Boakai alongside Minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr. Walter Gwenigale.
Watched by dozens of happy social workers and other people at the Ministry of Health compound, the Vice President praised the effort of Sime Darby and the government of Malaysia as well as the people for supporting Liberia in the fight against the deadly disease.
“Sime Darby has been very supportive. It is operating in four of our counties and has been helping the people of Liberia. We believe this will help a long way in our fight against Ebola,” Vice President Boakai said. Minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr. Walter Gwenigale said the gloves were a very useful donation, even after Ebola.
“These gloves can be used for other infectious diseases. It is not for Ebola,” he said, assuring the Malaysian government, the people and Sime Darby that the gloves would be used for their intended purpose.
The Acting General Manager of Sime Darby, Boima Sonii when making the donation had said that the gloves were his company and the Malaysian government’s own way of aiding the government of Liberia in the fight against Ebola, which he affirmed is a global threat to global health.
The gloves, which arrived in three containers the Freeport of Monrovia on October 31, is part of a collaborative effort by the Malaysian government with Malaysian companies to assist five African countries hit by Ebola—Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Congo. The gloves are to be distributed to health workers, non-government organisations (NGOs) and communities.
Some social workers who spoke to this reporter after the ceremony said, “We are just happy about this gesture. At least we know our true friends this time. In time of crisis, it is when you know your real and trusted friends. So, we know today that Malaysia and Sime Dary are true friend to Liberia,” Rebecca Jallah said.
Another social worker, Othello S. Kollie, said: “These gloves will help strengthen our medical centres in the country. We just hope that our people will be able to distribute them to the right places. They should not only carry it to their private places.”
“But in this open manger, we want to commend the government and people of Malaysia as well as Sime Darby for this important donation.” Besides the gloves, the Sime Darby Foundation (SDF) has also contributed US$157, 220 to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to carry out Ebola awareness programmes and campaigns in Liberia.
IFRC is working with the Liberian Red Cross Society (LRCS), which is leading efforts to control the spread of the virus through programmes to reduce mortality and morbidity related to Ebola.
Key activities include training and mobilization of volunteers in affected communities and providing psychosocial support to help those affected to continue with their lives. Other activities include setting up diagnosis facilities, expanding ongoing awareness programmes to Sime Darby estates and developing an identification system to manage any outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.
The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 4,500 lives across West Africa, including 2,200 in Liberia. In the worst-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – about 9,000 people have been found to have the Ebola virus, which has a fatality rate of about 70% of those infected.