Liberia: Government, Partners Strengthen Health Workers’ Capacities in Combating COVID-19


Kakata, Margibi County – The Government of Liberia through the Ministries of Agriculture and Health has begun a six -day training for Community Health Volunteers, Community Animal Health Workers, Port Health and Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) officers to support Community Event-Based Surveillance for COVID-19 in Margibi County.

The training of community health actors in Margibi County is a component of the USAID’s Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) support through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) working collaboratively with the World Bank/REDISSE, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The initiative is being implemented  in  six of Liberia’s fifteen counties -Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Margibi, Bomi, River Cess and Grand Kru counties that reported confirmed cases of COVID -19 and also that are prone to outbreaks of other infectious diseases .

The training is a continuation of FAO/USAID and World Bank supports to 200 Community Health Workers trained in Montserrado and over 500 CHWs in other border counties which led to their deployment for response to decrease COVID-19 community transmission.   

This integrated training method, using a One Health approach takes into consideration work by the health, agriculture and environmental sectors to intervene to respond to COVID-19. The interconnected roles from the varied sectors to include the Point of Entry or Ports Authorities and Immigrations Services are imperative due to spread of infection due to travel in pandemic like the COVID-19.

Also, it is significant to note that 65% of diseases that affect human are of animals’ origin. As such, a holistic approach to combating any potential public health threat is the way to go. 

During the launch of the training in, Kakata, Margibi County; there were representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank/REDISSE projects.

Dr. Fatima Soud, the USAID Senior Advisor on Global Health Security Agenda informed the attendees on USAID’s approach through collaboration with the Government of Liberia on the importance to prioritize prevention, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks. USAID works with other USG partners to outline strategies to address health security threats and outbreaks especially now with COVID-19.
She informed the attendees on the importance of working with the community to address knowledge gaps of COVID-19 to allay fears, address rumors and provide avenues to access health services timely to those that need it.

Mohamed Cherif Diallo, IOM-Liberia Country Coordinator said, as COVID-19 spreads across Liberia, it was important that borders security and surveillance officers get the required education and tools in the detection and isolation of the disease.

“Remember that as surveillance officers assigned at seaport and airport, very soon the country will open and when the country opens, people move and when people move the virus moves, because of that we need to be prepared”, he said, “As you have being trained, the country will be counting on you to be able to apply the knowledge and tools on how to detect and isolate covid-19 cases so that we reduce the numbers as mush we can”.

Diallo admonished the participants to transmit to the residents of Margibi and the other counties the necessary awareness and sensitization on Covid-19 health protocols.

He added that the people will be counting on them as trained Community Health Volunteers and Community Animal Health Workers to remind inhabitants of those Counties about the existence of the virus in Liberia and its deadliest nature.

Speaking on behalf of the FAO Representative, Jacob E. Center called for a concerted effort in combating COVID-19 as the virus still poses a threat to Liberia.

Center: “There is now an urgent need for all of us to join our resources to combat this disease; to kick Covid-19 out of Liberia requires the collective efforts of every individual which is why participants from human health and animal health sectors were selected to be trained”.

Mr. Center claimed that the FAO office in Liberia has been involved with supporting the Liberian Government’s effort in the fight against Covid-19 since the country recorded it index case, promising that his organization will remain engaged with the government and partners until the virus is eradicated from Liberia and the region.    

On behalf of the Government, the Chief Veterinary Officer, Joseph R.N. Anderson and Eddie Miaway Farngalo, Director/Epidemiologist of the Central Veterinary Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture thanked all partners and reaffirmed the Ministry of Agriculture willingness to continue working with partners with the aim of eradicating animal related diseases as well as promoting food safety and nutrition.

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