Liberia: Ministry of Health Kicks-off 2nd Joint Evaluation of Int’l Health Regulation

Minister Howard describes the process as an invaluable opportunity to reflect on Liberia's advancement, assimilate best practices

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, and other partners, has kicked off the second joint external evaluation of the country’s international health regulations.

The “Joint External Evaluation” (JEE) which is geared towards comprehensively assessing Liberia's core health capacities, marks a significant milestone in the country’s commitment to global health security.

The process is a peer-to-peer review,  and according to Dr. Shikanga O-Tipo, the JEE meeting involves a diverse team of experts, who will collectively scrutinize Liberia's preparedness and response capabilities across 19 technical areas.

O-Tipo at the opening of the meeting yesterday, recounted Liberia's midterm assessment in 2019, with an overall readiness of 49%, which subsequently informed the formulation of Liberia's next national action plan for health security. 

In 2016, Liberia conducted its maiden JEE, which served as a pivotal moment that led to the formulation of a five-year national health strategy designed to address identified gaps.

He added that locally, the process involves the collaborative efforts of key government bodies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Forestry Development Authority, among others.

Norwu Howard, the Deputy Minister of Administration, at the Ministry of Health, noted that the evaluation exemplifies Liberia's ongoing commitment to safeguarding the health of its citizens and the global community.

Howard, who spoke on behalf of Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr.  Whelimena Jallah, added that this assessment presents an invaluable opportunity to reflect on Liberia’s advancement, assimilate best practices, and chart a course toward even greater preparedness.

Meanwhile, Dr.  Clement Peter, the WHO Country Representative noted that evaluation is vital in assessing the nation's capabilities in preventing, detecting, and responding to public health threats and situations in accordance with the guidelines set out in the international health regulations.

He described the event as a moment to reflect on where Liberia came from and where it is heading as a country, stressing the importance of doing more in the country’s health sector. 

Peter recalled that in 2015, when Liberia had the Ebola strike, the first reaction was to look at the capacities that existed to implement, and a good national action plan was developed to strengthen the national capacities. 

“Liberia has moved on with its own full capacity to fight the pandemic, he said. However, we should be able to improve on other areas that have gaps and build on the aspects of properness and response. Let us remember that this work is not done in isolation; it is based on the health system.”

“Liberia has made tremendous progress with what is happening today here, and it is important to note that we can’t celebrate the success alone. We also have to look at the challenges as well,” he said.