By Bill W. Cooper
The government of Liberia through the Montserrado County Health Team (MCHT) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with funding from the German government (giz) over the weekend launched a 5-day community ‘voluntary testing’ for residents of District #4 as a means of curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The colorful event which took place at the Du-port Baptist Church on June 11, 2020 in Paynesville brought together community leaders and residents of District #4 including the IRC Country Director, MCHT County Health officer, the giz representative, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative and the COVID-19 Response Unit National Coordinator, among others.
A scene from the occasion
Officially launching the activity, COVID-19 Response Unit National Coordinator, Mary Broh said that the initiative undertaken by the government’s partners is something worth commendation and as such, as head of the Response Unit of COVID-19, will ensure that the government and its partners achieve the target within the 5-day duration.
She noted that community engagement during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country is very cardinal, and added that under her leadership as head, the team will move from community to community in eradicating the virus out of the district and the country at large.
Madam Broh then lauded the IRC, giz, WHO as well as the leadership of District #4 for their effort exerted in ensuring that the government’s fight against the pandemic is actualized, while at the same time urged citizens of the district to ensure that they utilize the opportunity by doing their test within the 5-day period for the life-saving for them and their families.
Earlier, the IRC Country Director, Faith Akovi Cooper said that her organization (IRC) is a humanitarian organization with a crisis response mandate and as such, they are very committed to Liberia by working alongside every community aimed at eliminating COVID-19 out of the country, stressing that District #4 is not the first to experience the initiative but rather Thinker Village community two weeks ago.
According to her, the IRC has realized that not one entity or community can defeat the virus but to rather come together as a team, people and country who have committed to ensuring the safety and security of each one family, community and the nation as a whole, indicating that if one is affected, that one person’s entire family will be at risk like in the case of the index case, which she said the country is facing the burden as the result of it.
Madam Cooper recounted that during the EBOLA epidemic, the community engagement at the time was very instrumental to the eradication of the virus, adding, “If we as a community can unite and see this initiative as our own, I am very optimistic that we will surpass our 1,000 target as promised by the district chairman.”
She further clarified that the activity is not about money-making from the government or international partners that has been speculated in the public, noting that though it will require fund to smoothly carry on the work, and said that the main focus of the initiative is to identify, isolate and treat cases if confirmed positive in order to save the lives of the citizenry and the protection of the country.
For her part, the MCHT County Health Officer, Dr. Yatta Wapoe lauded the IRC, giz and other donors for the initiative, emphasizing that most of the country’s COVID-19 cases are ill symptomatic, and as such, the ‘voluntary testing’ is very timely for the district.
In separate remarks, WHO Health Promotion Officer, Vachel Harris Lake, District #4 Chairman, Nathaniel B. Vah II, and MIA Deputy Minister for Research and Development Planning, Olayee Collins lauded the IRC, giz and the Liberian government for the initiative owing to the fact that many countries around the world are struggling with it as it does not have any cure.
Mr. Vah further urged his community dwellers to come in their numbers to ensure that they get tested to know their status as well as the protection of their community, while at the same time promised that he will ensure that the healthcare team surpasses their target by bringing in 10,000 resident s to do their voluntary tests.