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IREDD Survey Reports On Gov’t Constrains In Fighting Covid

The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) is reporting that governmental health facilities in the country lack budgetary support, personal protective equipment and sufficient vaccines.
The monitoring and findings from the first survey funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the United States based organization Tides in partnership with Innovation for Change Africa under the title “Improving Liberia’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery process” and conducted with 20 public health facilities.
The project required IREDD to collect Liberia’s COVID-19 response and recovery data and assess whether public health facilities across the country are receiving and properly accounting for direct budgeted medical support to combat the widespread of COVID-19 in Liberia.
The project also monitored procedures and processes that the public health centers have employed to prevent the spread of the virus in Liberia with a survey which began on May 10-21, 2021 by randomly selecting reports from across Montserrado, Margibi and Nimba counties for the first phase.
IREDD Executive Director, Mattias Yeanay, making the disclosure yesterday during a press conference held in Monrovia noted, “IREDD’s monitoring survey reveals compelling transparency and accountability related issues amongst which are: many public health facilities lack direct budgetary support and have in place limited data for real time accountability for other drugs and medical supplies provided by the Ministry of Health and interested partners.”
“Overall, while the Government of Liberia (GoL) from the onset of COVID-19 developed a comprehensive National COVID-19 Response Plan involving coordinated engagements amongst the MOH, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and other multi-sector, adequate implementation of said plan have been a serious challenge. Key amongst implementation challenges are limited awareness amongst citizens on measures to prevent,” Yeanay said.
IREDD’s survey Titled “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Liberia’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Process” also discovered that the rapid spread of Coronavirus is due to the lack of transparency and accountability in the budgetary allocation and appropriation at the local level and low public perception on the efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19.
“As regards awareness, the population still have limited information on ways to prevent COVID-19 even though focus is on mask-wearing but not how to safely wear a mask, how to remove and dispose it. For this reason, many mask-wearing persons throughout the 3 counties monitored could be seen wearing mask on their chains instead of properly covering the nose and mouth,” IREDD survey reported.
In addition, “while 75% of health facilities monitored required patients to wash their hands before entering their respective centers, 70% of the same facilities do not require patients to wear mask, further 85% do not require any form of social distancing. These statistics should raise serious alarm amongst health authorities for concrete remedial action to reinforce safety measures at all health centers across the country otherwise the fight against COVID-19 will continue to be fruitless.”
Adding, “So far, IREDD has monitored 20 public health facilities of which 75% of those interviewed stated that they have no knowledge of budgeted medical support to their respective health facilities for the fiscal year or how allocation of supplies for their health facilities are determined. Local-level health administrators report that they form no part of the budget planning process and are only supplied drugs and equipment when high level MOH officials deemed fit for the facility.”
IREED reported that from all indication, it sees the lack of local contribution to decision making in the health sector as an undercut in the government’s fight against COVID-19 and as well hindrance to its accountability.
“More so, in terms of budgetary support to health facilities, record at the E&J Medical Center in Ganta, Nimba County revealed that the Center’s budgetary appropriation for the previous fiscal year was US $300,000. In the current fiscal year budget, that already inadequate amount has been reduced to US $100,000 with no explanation or justification from officials within the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), MOH and/or the Legislature responsible for budgetary appropriation,” the report revealed.
Meanwhile, IREDD also indicated that it is inclined to state that Liberia is heavily overwhelmed by the new variants of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is basically due to lack of robust enforcement of health protocol measures.
Making a projected presentation at the ICAMPUS, IREDD said, “Unimaginably, the report shows that in less than two months, Liberia has recorded more than 2,326 new cases of the virus; a news that is terribly worrisome and requires leadership at all levels, concrete remedial action to constrain further spread of the virus void politics of any form is now.”
“In this regards, IREDD is urging the government especially the Legislature to do all in its powers to appropriate the Special Budget under legislative review for the remainder of fiscal year 2021 allotment in ways that emphasizes on targets against COVID-19 and ensure that the implementation of the budget does not deviate unjustifiably from efforts geared towards the fight.”
IREDD also called on the Executive Branch of Government through the Ministry of Health to decentralize the rollout vaccines to every public health center so as to ensure that every Liberian has the opportunity to be vaccinated against this deadly disease that has plague the society for nearly two years.

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