-to help stop the spread of covid-19
Soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL, have been put on a standby mode ready to be deployed when needed to support health authorities to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus.
AFL Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Prince Charles Johnson, III, said both the infantry and the Liberia Coast Guard have been activated to be on standby to support health authorities when needed to help.
“We are on the standby just in case, based on the recommendation and our own input to the health authority. We standby to deploy and help to stop the spread,” Gen. Johnson said during a live talk show on local broadcaster OK FM Thursday, 1 July 2021 in Monrovia.
During the show, Gen. Johnson said the AFL has reactivated its medical unit and it is on standby to support the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).
12 of Liberia’s 15 counties are now in response, while the remaining three counties including Grand Kru, River Gee, and Grand Gedeh are still standing and are in preparedness.
Overall, Liberia has recorded a little over 120 coronavirus deaths cumulatively since the crisis began in March 2020 to date and has also recorded 4,098 cases of the virus cumulatively.
The third wave of the virus is considered more deadly than the previous two waves of the virus experienced last year, and health authorities have been cautioning the public to take health protocols more seriously and be inoculated.
The Army Chief indicated that on 27 June this year, the Ministry of Health visited the 14th Military Hospital which was one of the Covid treatment facilities during the previous waves of Coronavirus, saying the facility is prepared just in case StarBase is overwhelmed by Covid cases.
“Our logistic unit, already we have constructed tents at the RIA [Roberts International Airport]. I think they have this new rapid response test that anybody coming now they can do, and they asked us, we provided tents. We also built another tent at the SKD Sports Complex for the activities there,” Gen. Johnson noted.
Additionally, he said the AFL is providing perimeter security for the Star Base Covid-19 Treatment Facility.
Regarding vaccination, Gen. Johnson said he has taken his first dose of the Covid vaccine and he is scheduled to do his second this month, noting that for the Ministry of Defense and the AFL, it is mandatory that only persons who are vaccinated and are preparing for their second dose are allowed into the military facilities.
He said the AFL has completed 50 percent of its personnel based on the vaccines that the military got. Gen. Johnson encouraged personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia, their dependents, and the citizenry to continue to follow the health protocols announced by the Ministry of Health and to also get inoculated.
Earlier on the show Thursday, former NPHIL boss Dr. Mosoka Fallah encouraged people with health complications like blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections to take the vaccines because “once they have the disease, they will accelerate and they will die.”
“So instead of you being afraid when you have these conditions, [they] should be all the reasons why you should take this,” Dr. Fallah said.
Explaining the importance of taking the two doses of the vaccines, Dr. Fallah, it has been determined that the protection you get from the first dose is not strong enough, but the second dose will prompt up the system to give you the maximum result.
He said this is why people are encouraged to take their second dose to reduce their chances of getting infected, or faceless risk even if they were infected, compared to those who didn’t take the vaccine at all.
On the aspect of compliance, Dr. Fallah said Liberia needs to start thinking about something called “behavior modification” in Public Health through which people are deprived of certain privileges [if they refuse to abide by certain protocols].
He suggested that people do not have to be jailed due to their refusal to take vaccines, but their privileges can be reduced to include being deprived of riding public buses, going to public places and green zoons being created only for those that have taken the vaccines, among others.
“So we can take that same method and use it. People that are difficult we will not put them in jail, but we restrict certain things,” he suggested.-By Winston W. Parley, Edited by Othello B. Garblah