The board chairperson of the Liberia Immunization Platform (LIP), George Stewart, has called on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to consider as critical the inclusion of LIP in the nationwide immunization program.
Mr. Stewart yesterday told a mini press conference in Monrovia that LIP played host to 36 civil society organizations in the 15 counties.
Besides, he explained that LIP is a fully fledged and accredited civil society organization that specializes in immunization.
He claimed that the MOH, without any consultation with health partners, has dedicated all immunization programs to the Health Ministry.
Stewart further intimated that LIP is structured to take on all kinds of community mobilization campaigns anywhere in the country.
“The weaknesses and failures of our health system have brought a serious community confidence crisis that is confronting the entire health sector,” Mr. Stewart asserted.
To regain public confidence in the health service delivery system, the MOH needs not play a stand-alone game, he stressed.
Chairman Stewart argued that besides WHO and UNICEF, the government needs grassroots civil society organizations to help get the job done.
He contended that the MOH had confirmed 490 suspected cases of measles in the country.
“From our experience with Ebola, this outbreak cannot be resolved solely by the MOH with its weak delivery system,” Mr. Stewart noted.
According to him, one of the lessons learnt from the Ebola crisis is working with civil society organizations to bring the expected relief.
“We received WHO response concerning LIP’s inclusion in the immunization program in Liberia,” Mr. Stewart asserted.
He added that LIP supported the participation of its staff and representation of its board of directors at the MOH and the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) strategic planning.
LIP exists to partner with the Government and partners in the best interest of the country, he added.
Chairman Stewart explained that any act against a wholesome vaccine program in Liberia stands against LIP and therefore LIP also stands against it.
He said the MOH has received huge support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) and one of GAVI’s interests is for non-governmental institutions to form a part.