NPHIL wants food safety law

The Deputy Director General of newly created National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Dr. Masoka Fallah says Liberia needs food safety law, having recognized food to be an agent of disease and that people are interdependent.

Speaking over the weekend when government launched the National Codex Committee in Monrovia, Dr. Fallah said food is an agent of disease, urging the need for the setting up of surveillance to protect food here.

While emphasizing the goodness of food safety on account of adding value to what is eaten on a daily basis, Dr. Fallah reveals that the lack of proper measure in place to guide food products has over the pass time caused much sickness in Liberia.

At the NPHIL, he says the institution’s job is mainly focused on surveillance aimed at devel-op effective system to diagnose diseases, get to the source and mitigate the risk of spreading them to other parts of the country.

“Recently we had a joint operation to tackle food and water surveillance because they are agent of disease,” Dr. Fallah says.

He explains that the idea behind developing food and water surveillance system is to put Li-beria on path with other neighboring countries that have instituted some measures to protect their food products.

According to the NPHIL Deputy Director General, the issues of capacity building and infra-structure are also relevant, urging the the Ministry of Health, NPHIL, Commerce Ministry and others to form intercessory collaboration to address the issue of food safety.

He notes that the recent performance of these institutions and other stakeholders has made some gains, including the adoption of the Food Safety Act. Also speaking, UNAIDS Country Director Dr. Miriam Chipimo lashed at the Legislature here for not handling the issue of food safety with seriousness. She calls for serious national attention on food security, on grounds that Liberia’s neighbors do have these things in place.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Monrovia Mayor applauds LSCI

The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) under the astute leadership of Mayor Clara Doe-Mvogo has heaped praises on H. Kwaku Addy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Liberia Services Corporation Incorporated (LSCI) for exhibiting high degree of professionalism in the discharge of its duty.

Speaking at the occasion marking the commemoration of Liberia’s 170th Flag Day celebration held in Paynesville City outside Monrovia, Mayor Doe-Mvogo further lauds LSCI for what she terms true sense of commitment the entity continues to show in helping the city government to keep Monrovia “Clean Green and Save”.

The Liberia Services Corporation Incorporated is a Liberian-owned company with over 150 employees, mostly college students, who are charged with the duty to manage Vehicles Street parking activity on horizontal streets in central Monrovia in a five (5) year revenue sharing partnership agreement with the city government.

According to Mayor Doe-Mvogo, LSCI operation has helped greatly to control the huge traffic congestion, and also curtail abandonment of vehicles in the principal streets of Monrovia, a situation, which she notes, has brought some level of relief to businesses in the city.

The Mayor also applauds the entity for adhering to terms and condition as stipulated in the agreement reached by both parties, and praises LSCI boss H. Kwaku Addy for the timely manner in which his entity has always remitted MCC share of proceeds generated from the parking scheme, while applying suitable labor practice to his employees.
She notes that street parking scheme as initiated by her predecessor Madam Mary T. Broh, was not intended for profit making, rather to provide job opportunity for college students.

For his part, LSCI boss Addy assures the Monrovia City Mayor of his company’s commitment to buttressing the city government’s effort to ensure that jobs opportunities are created for young Liberians in their strive to attain higher and quality education.

He pledges full cooperation with MCC aimed at fostering cordial working relationship for the betterment of Monrovia City, extends appreciation to Mayor Doe-Mvogo and her core of officers for affording him the opportunity to contribute the upliftment of youth empowerment.

Addy also cautions his employees and the country’s vast youthful population to refrain from acts that would undermine their smooth growth and to avoid vices that could place them in detrimental circumstances.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

District #8 candidate identifies with government clinic

Montserrado County District #8 representative candidate James Fallah has donated asserted medical drugs valued at $42, 000.00LD to the government - owned Soniewen Clinic, Soniewen Community.

Presenting the items to Soniewen Clinic Officer - in- Charge Irene Sherman-Esiri, Mr. Fallah said the donation was a of identifying with the health facility in the wake of alleged lack of government assistance to the clinic.

The former student activist listed boxes of paracetamol, alcohol, and tissue as items donated, saying they his initial contribution to the clinic.

Mr. Fallah who once lived in the vicinity of the clinic says he is saddened that since the departure of International Non-Governmental Organization Medecins Du Monde from the clinic, the facility allegedly continues to experience shortage of essential drugs to cater to sick people especially women and children.

Receiving the donation, Soniewen Clinic Officer-In-Charge Irene Sherman-Esiri expressed gratitude to Mr. Fallah, emphasizing the need for goodwill Liberians and organizations to come to the aid of the clinic.

Madam Esiri calls for essential medical items needed to provide medical services to the people, adding that the medical center is experiencing serious problem due to the alleged failure of the Ministry of Health to provide essential needed materials.

She claims that government has attributed the challenge to drugs shortage at its central warehouse in the country.

Madam Eisir further calls the public to contribute medical drugs such as amoxicillin, cloranfenicol, flagyl, and material for the treatment of women and children who are the most recorded patients visiting the health center to seek medical attention.

She recalls that several months back, Mr. Fallah made similar donation to the health center during the Ebola crisis while he was then working with the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS).

According to her, the donation at the time, helped to fight the disease in the community. Mr. Fallah is a lecturer at the UMU, AMEU, AMEZU, and several high schools in Monrovia.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Health workers prepare for elections

Authorities at the National Health Workers Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) say elections will be conducted on 9 September to choose a new corps of officers that will steer the affairs of the institution.

NAHWUL Elections Commission told a news conference on Wednesday, 16 August that health workers and medical practitioners here will go to Bong County to elect their new officials in September.

NAHWUL is encouraging individuals interested in contesting for positions to submit their letters of application with the position of interest clearly indicated, along with current CV and three references.

It says Liberian citizens aged 25 or above, employed in the health sector and have graduated from high school are eligible to submit application. The guideline bars applications from Liberian health workers who are occupying positions such as minister, deputy minister, assistant minister, program director, departmental directors, county health officers, medical director, hospital administrators, and human resource managers.

NAHWUL Secretary General Mr. George Poe Williams says to revamp the organization for union status, a conference was organized last week by executives of institution and the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC) in Gardnersville.

“There have been a lot of obstacles in the way by officials of government to prevent the organization from gaining full union status for the past three years,” Mr. Williams claims.
He insists that there is nothing in the civil servant standing orders that stops civil servants from organizing a trade union or establishing a union, opposed to what he claims government has been suggesting.

According to Mr. Williams, NAHWUL has met requirements in a program allegedly introduced by government called ‘Organizing and Reorganizing of Trade Unions’ across the country.

“We are no longer National Health Workers Association Liberia, but we are now the National Health Workers Union of Liberia,” he proclaims, and adds that becoming a union will give them the mantle to collective bargaining rights and to sit at the table with employers and discuss issues on the conditions of work including benefits for the workers.

He believes that government has no reason to prevent certificating the health workers on their union status on grounds that they have completed the process of organizing and reorganizing, and LLC has agreed to ensure that the organization is formulated to represent both public and private health workers of Liberia.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley


Liberia considers partnership on SDGs

Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara has encouraged the need to have collaboration to identify innovative and cost effective solutions to complex policy challenges in the midst of limited resources in order to achieve priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Nonetheless these challenges, Liberia has made some progress towards domesticating SDGs,” Mr. Kamara said at a one - day SDGs symposium held at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia on Monday. 14 August.

He says in a keynote address that many of the participants at the symposium had common thought on sustainable development in specific areas like economic transformation and poverty reduction, improvement in education and health, development of science and technology, environmental sustainability, and peace and security.

Unfortunately, the Finance Minister observes that “resources are limited,” and therefore demand collaboration to identify innovative and cost effective solutions to these complex policy challenges.

He emphasizes the great importance of strengthening partnership with other governments throughout Africa and non - government stakeholders.

In line with a long term vision outlined in the Agenda 2063 for Africa … that requires collaboration of both governments and non-government stakeholders, Mr. Kamara encourages coordination of works and building of signages to maximize the impact of “our” collective resources.
Mr. Kamara recalls that the Ebola outbreak here and the decline of global commodity prices were two shocks that caused severe devastation in Liberia and the regional economic growth.

But in a reflection, he says in November 2015, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in collaborating with Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo Information Services (LISGIS), through UNDP support held a dialogue in Buchanan on enhancing capacity and statistical condition for SDGs domestication.

According to him, the dialogue provided participants of the opportunity to prioritize goals of the SDGs that would be relevant to the development objectives of the country.

Mr. Kamara expresses hope that the SDG Center for Africa Director General Dr. Belay E. Begashaw’s visit here would help participants to assess Liberia’s progress and help stakeholders gain more knowledge and understanding to further improve Liberia’s effort towards achieving the SDGs.

He asked participants to think strategically about priority areas where multi-stakeholders cooperation can yield fruitful results.

Minister of State Minister Sylvester Grigsby recalls Liberia’s pivotal role in the formulation of the goals in the SDG, first as co-chair of the MDGs which was succeeded by the SDGs, and later heading the High Level Panel (HLP) for Africa in drafting the African Position.

As such, Mr. Grigsby says it is very important for Liberia to review progress that has been made towards the implementation of these very important goals which in a way give the participants the index of the kind of progress made towards national development.

The symposium witnessed presentations from different government ministries and agencies including Post and telecommunication, Agriculture, Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Water and Sewer, among others.

--By Winston W. Parley

GVL provides safe drinking water for locals in Sinoe

As part of its commitment to provide safe drinking water for its host communities, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and citizens of Tarjuowon District in Sinoe County on Wednesday 9 July 2017 broke grounds for the construction of additional two new hand pumps in Wiah town and One Way communities.

These facilities when completed will provide safe drinking water for more than 300 community residents. Recently, the company constructed six new hand pumps and rehabilitated over 20 in Tarjuowon while another six were rehabilitated and turned over in Butaw District for six communities which are currently providing safe drinking water for more than 5000 community residents in Butaw and Tarjuowon Districts.

The refurbishing of these hand pumps by the oil palm developer seeks to address the shortages of safe drinking water in these communities and is a clear manifestation of the company's continuous commitment to ending rural poverty in Southeast Liberia.

Speaking at a brief ground breaking ceremony, women representative Esther Shegbeh, youth leader Shelton Que, Joseph Tuley-Chairman, community representative committee, and City Mayor Hon.David Johnson expressed their enthusiasm and lauded the Management of GVL for the project and pledged that the facilities when completed will be properly managed and used for its intended purpose

GVL Assistant Manager for Community Affairs and Social Sustainability, Willie S.W. Chea said the construction of these hand pumps in Tarjuowon is in fulfillment of the memorandum of understanding signed with the communities in 2013 and GVL continues commitments to provide safe drinking water for its host communities. “GVL is committed to providing these basic services to our host communities to improve their living conditions. This is one of the most economical and simple solutions for providing a collective supply of drinking water in rural areas; it improves the conditions of hygiene and reduces the likelihoods of locals being infected with waterborne diseases. “He said.

Article 9 of the GVL concession agreement and principles 4.4 of the Roundtable on Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO), requires the company to ensure all employees and residential communities within its developed areas are supplied on a regular basis with clean and safe drinking water as a practice of modern oil palm industry standards.

GVL remains committed to improving the livelyhoods ot its host communities and the implementation of MOU projects. it can be re-called that GVL and the Butaw community jointly broken grounds for the construction of US$120,000 eight classroom annex and a teacher quarter at the Butaw Junior High School for the elevation of the school to senior secondary high School level and dedicated a US$ 52,000 raod linking Tugbeh village to Jimmy Doe Town in Ceedor, Butaw District, Sinoe county


New eye sight center in Paynesville

A new center for eyes testing has formally opened in 72nd community, Paynesville City, suburb of Monrovia, bringing to three, the number of eye centers here. New Eye Sight Center was opened recently during a ceremony held in Paynesville City.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Robert Fohn Dolo, who officially declared the facility opened, says the center in collaboration with the Greater Lions Club of Monrovia has started an outreach program in several counties, including Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Margibi and Nimba, respectively, to cater to people suffering from eye problems.

Mr. Dolo notes that the number of eye patients in Liberia has increased across the country more than during the 70s and 80s, adding that most eye problems are caused by victims’ inability to seek early consultation and treatment.

He lauds President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her interest in the institution and concern shown for visually-impaired people. Meanwhile, the Optometrist at the Center, Dr. Catherine Gaisie, who also spoke at the occasion, warns people suffering eye-related problem to avoid using glasses not prescribed by eye doctors, saying that it creates serious problem for users.

Dr. Gaisie explains that as people get older, they experience many eye diseases, which attack bodily parts, including cataract and glaucoma, which in some insistences, result from hypertension.
For their part, the Cataract Surgeons at the New Eye Center, Ms. Jetty Zegbeh and Madam Youngor Zayzay, say that the natural eye enables patients to see clearly and from distance unlike artificial or prosthesis eye.
They explain that people experiencing severe pain in the eye risk going blind, adding that it is advisable for such patients to undergo eye surgery to avoid painful blind eye.
According to them, prosthesis or false eye cannot make one suffering from eye problem to see.

Phebe Hospital graduates 66

The Phebe Paramedical Training Program (PTP) in Bong County, central Liberia has graduated 66 candidates after completion of three years of study.
The graduates were awarded Diplomas Saturday, 22 July during the 36th Commencement program of the PTP held at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on the Phebe Hospital Compound in Suakoko, Bong County.

The 66 graduates are from six medical disciplines including; Nurse Midwifery (4 candidates), Nurse Anesthesia (7), Certified Midwifery Bridging (6), Professional Midwifery (23), and 26 candidates from the Medical Laboratory Technology Programs.
Presenting the graduates to the Medical Director of the Phebe Hospital, the Director of the Phebe Training Programs, Humphrey G. Loweal reflected on the achievements of the institution over the years
in developing the nation’s health workforce, especially being the only Pre-Service Institution teaching Anesthesia in Liberia. Among the graduates is the first male nurse midwife in Liberia.

Mr. Loweal appeals to members of the Bong Legislative Caucus to initiate the process of proposing a bill for the PTP to be elevated from a Diploma to a Degree granting institution.

Serving as guestspeaker, the Chief of Party (COP) for the Maternal and Child Survival Program’s (MCSP) Human Resources for Health (HRH) Project Mrs. Marion Subah cautions the graduates that “they were ending their days as students, but are beginning their professional careers” to help address the shortage of qualified human resources for health.

She stresses the important role Mid-level Health care workers play in providing health care, adding, “You are the first that a person needing service and quality care sees, the first faces of the health system
that people meet, even newborn babies”.

Mrs. Subah informs the graduates that as Health Care Workers, their professional mission is to serve the people and communities of Liberia by “making sure their health care needs are met with the highest of standards as you provide quality care according to international standards within a national framework”.
She pledges her organization’s support with funding from U. S. Agency for International Development to transforming Pre-Service Education in Liberia so that patients receive quality services appropriate to their needs at the health facilities.

Mrs. Subah adds that as part of the Pre-Service Curriculum and Practice, there is a special emphasis on “Quality and Respectful Care” to help future health care workers (Nurses, Lab Technicians, Nurse Anesthetics and Midwives) develop a health “bedside manner” – to treat patients with empathy and compassion in addition to providing care of the highest quality.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

City Life Water challenges closure

City Life Mineral Water Incorporated, a local business in Caldwell Township, Montserrado County protests here that it was wrongfully shut down by the Liberian government.

The government recently shut down about a dozen local water producing companies for operating in unhygienic environments, among other poor services that endanger public health and safety.

But the management of City Life argues that government had earlier certificated the company after it met all requirements prescribed by the Ministry of Health and the standard division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, respectively.

It says to its dismay, City Life was listed among companies that failed to meet standard requirements for producing sachet water, thereby, immediately closing the entire operations of the company.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, 23 July in the township, the General Manger of City Life, Mr. Ahaji Omaru Sheriff, explains that the company is 100 percent Liberian-owned and mindful of the health and safety of the general public.

“We have consistently seen to it that our company complies individually with all of the various regulatory agencies overseeing the sachet water industry; These include the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the National Standard Laboratory and Environmental Protection Agency’’, he explains.

Mr. Sheriff notes that in all of their interactions with the authorities, including assessment and testing these entities have carried out, his company has come out successfully in compliance with all of the preconditions, qualification and bench marks required prior to being allowed to continue production, adding that even “employees had to produce their health clearances before gaining employment with our company.”

He continues that it has come to the attention of the Management of City Life Mineral Water Incorporated that a smear campaign hatched by some detractors in the water industry and unsuspectingly being supported by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has been making the rounds since 17 July 2017.

He calls on his customers and the general public not to give any credence to radio announcement and print publication bearing the entity’s name as being among sachet Water Companies found not in compliance with the law or producing unfit water for public consumption.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Ellen warns JFK nurses

President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf has warned nurses at the government John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center referral hospital that the health of the people is in their hands, and if they do not respond to patients that turn out to seek medical attention, they have put lives at stake.

“I wish some of the nurses from JFK were here, not just the eye clinic; but the other nurses to say to them the health of our people are not only in the hands of these who are trained, not only the doctors. It’s in your hands. When somebody comes to the hospital and you do not respond to them, you have put a life at stake”, Mrs. Sirleaf warned Monday, 24 July.

While inaugurating a major Indian - built Liberian Eye Care Center on Monday in Monrovia which places Liberia at first among West African countries to conduct cornea transplant, Mrs. Sirleaf says dream comes true if you work at it.

She recalls that it has been a long road to where “we are today”, and expresses surprise at the facility particularly over the very sophisticated equipment that she says have been put there.
“We can have the best facilities, we can have the best equipment, we can have the best mobility with vehicles to bring people and the willingness of people to want to go and take the care that is available for them, but if you the nurses, the doctors, the administrators do not put your heart and your passion and your work into it, then all of this does not amount to much,” Mrs. Sirleaf says.

She thanks the Indian partners and others for their contributions in making the dream come true, and also recognizes the quiet efforts and contribution of the Lions Club towards the eye center project.

President Sirleaf says there is a commitment that if “we” continue to work together with the support of those that have pledged to support the center like the Lions Club and others, training could be started for community health workers.

She anticipates that when trained, the community health workers could go into the schools and designated places and determine that there’s something wrong with a child’s eye and then sent them to a place where they can get relieve.

She describes the Eye Center as something good for Liberia and pledges government’s commitment to ensuring that the objectives that have been formulated and the dream that is partially fulfilled by the inauguration of the project will be met.

Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn recalls that President Sirleaf, during her visit to India in 2013, made the initial contact with the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute of India to come and help establish a world class eye care center in Liberia.

Dr. Dahn says President Sirleaf asked the Indian counterparts to work with other partners on the grounds here to develop an eye care plan, an invitation she says they honored and came here in 2014.

“And since then we have been working together to see what is here today”, she says, adding that it has been a partnership between the Governments of Liberia and India, represented by the JFK Medical Center and the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute of India, the implementing partner.

She concludes that the Liberian Government provided above US$300,000 to renovate the site based on standards provided by the L.V. Prasad, supported travels and accommodation and paid Indian doctors who have started working here to provide services over the past nine months.

JFK Chief Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wvannie Scott - McDonald notes that the Eye Center project is one of the many projects that will be seen working, and expresses happiness for bringing the center back to where it was.

She thanks President Sirleaf for being the key person behind the project, adding that it represents her dream, her hope for Liberia and the fact that the JFK should be moved forward so that Liberians do not have to travel abroad for health care.

By Winston W. Parley

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