The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday turned over a Land Cruiser Jeep worth over US$13,000 to the School Health Division of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The Division of Health is responsible for supervising hygienic activities associated with primary health in public and private schools across the country.
Health activities in schools became more prominent following the devastating Ebola virus that struck down many lives in Liberia and its neighboring countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Dr. Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Resident Representative, said as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), education is cardinal to the development of a country “and the Liberian Government has shown commitment to meeting the goal.”
In pursuing this goal, Dr. Sogunro said though enrollment in Liberian schools is high, quality education remains a challenge.
Furthermore, he said a competitive spirit is lacking among students, while the females have become disadvantaged as a result of teenage pregnancy.
Based on statistics, Liberia is among countries with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy; Dr. Sogunro said, noting that this gives rise to an increase in fistula cases, which many child-bearing mothers are facing.
He also stressed that nowadays many students are so academically limited that they hardly speak or write good English, setting the difference between them and the older generation.
In order to have the best output of students and reduce health situations that may hinder their progress, Dr. Sogunro said UNFPA will work with the MOE authorities to provide logistical materials that will enable them to effectively deliver to the Liberian people.
In response to the UNFPA’s gesture, Deputy Minister for Instruction, Romelle A. Horton, said considering the crucial role of education, all sectors in the society need to contribute to the MOE “because it is education that brands the nation in a good form.”
She extended gratitude to the UNFPA for the jeep, saying it will help ease the transportation constraints the Division of School Health is experiencing.
The Director for School Health/Physical Education and Sports, Olivia M. Kendrixs, said the donation by UNFPA brought relief to them as the division has serious transportation challenges.
The vehicle will be helpful because it has the capacity to move on rough roads in the country, emphasizing further that it will enable them to reach most schools across the country.