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Pres. Weah Hails Action Against COVID-19 –Says 10 Counties Received Stimulus Packages

Despite the confirmed 1,927 total cases with 1,722 recoveries and 109 active cases of coronavirus recorded initially, President George Weah has hailed his government for its well-coordinated strategy aimed at delivering a strong national response to curtail the pandemic.

President Weah boasted that the efforts led to the Special Presidential Committee on COVID-19 (SPACOC) was established bringing together the Ministry of Health, the National Public Health Institute and other development partners as well as stakeholders to drive the fight against COVID-19.

With a recorded number of deaths put at 84; with only 13 deaths occurring in treatment facilities, the Liberian leader reported that the health authorities were able to launch massive testing and contact tracing programs that have contributed to the country’s success in the fight.

“To date, Liberia has 1,637 infections while more than 1,360 persons have recovered from the coronavirus; these numbers represent one of the best COVID-19 responses in the world; thanks to the pro-active leadership of national government, working together with development partners and other stakeholders,” he expressed.

President Weah further acknowledged that Liberia’s leadership in containing the COVID-19 virus has been globally recognized, for example, by the former head of the United States Center for Disease Control who has recognized the country as the “Best at Learning form a Recent Epidemic.”
“This recognition and praise is reserved for the thousands of medical practitioners, doctors, physician assistants, nurses, mid-wives and all other categories of healthcare workers from all over Liberia who placed their lives on the line so that Liberians can be safe. We owe them an eternal debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay. They are our heroes and heroines!!! And we say thanks to them from a grateful Nation,” he reiterated.
The expenditure which the President reported according to him is currently being audited by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and includes funds received through both direct budgetary support and indirect support from the international community who also rallied in Liberia’s defense and continued to be a reliable ally in the struggle to protect its citizens from the deadly disease.
President Weah in particular mentioned that, during the period under review, a direct COVID-19 budget support of US$87 Million was received from the International Monetary Fund, US$14 Million from the African Development Bank, and US$10.8 Million from the European Union; and that these budget support resources were received over the previous and the current fiscal years intended as general budget support to help sustain government’s revenue.
He further informed the legislators that the total monies directly spent on the National COVID-19 Responses under the control of the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute was US$6.0 Million, which was transferred by the Government of Liberia through the National Response.
Besides this direct spending by the Government, a little more than US$20 Million has been contributed indirectly by development partners to the National COVID-19 Response and of this amount, the World Bank contributed US$17 Million while the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control contributed US$3.0 Million.
Though many private institutions and commercial banks provided financial support, President Weah told the Legislature that most of the resources went towards the support of a 23-bed National Infections Disease Center with an additional 74-bedroom quarantine facility located at the Free Zone on Bushrod Island.

He said the government was also able to procure 15 ambulances, one for each county; 1,200 hospital and ICU beds and monitors; 120 motor cycles; 20 ventilators and other consumables and also constructed an I-V fluid and oxygen plant and as well supported compensation for health workers; yet the beneficiaries are still protesting over not receiving pay for the services rendered during this exercise.

Meanwhile, during the year under review, the Liberian leader explained that 10 counties amounting to about one million of the Liberian population benefitted from the National Legislature’s approved food distribution exercise which was supported through a national budgetary allotment in the tune of US$25 Million.

He explained that the World Food Program (WFP) was selected to implement this food distribution program, and the US$25 Million was transferred to them reporting that to date, according to the WFP, more than 40% of the food has been distributed while only five counties including Sinoe, River Gee, Lofa, Grand Kru and Gbarpolu are yet to receive their respective supplies.

However, the Liberian leader was quick to interject that the government has signed a no-cost extension with the WFP to complete the food distribution by end of March 2021.

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