Liberia: WHO, Partners Commit to Strengthen Infectious Disease Prevention in Africa

…. Over 90 medical practitioners from 5 African countries, including Liberia, converge

Over ninety health practitioners from five African countries are currently in Monrovia, participating in a week-long intensive and interactive brainstorming symposium of the World Health Organization's (WHO) health emergencies country readiness strengthening workshop for infection prevention and control guidelines for Ebola and Marburg disease.  

The weeklong symposium, which kicked-off in Monrovia on December 4, is expected to conclude on December 8. The symposium brought together participants from Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Liberia.

Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with Liberia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the dialogue is graced by county health teams, as well as medical and healthcare practitioners from Liberia. 

The workshop highlighted inspection and control guidelines for Ebola, Marburg disease, and other viruses. It is also aimed at building a resilient healthcare system with improved infection prevention control (IPC) capacity that will significantly benefit Liberia and the countries represented.

Dr Musu Durowko- Family Planning and Reproductive health Team Lead

Speaking during the workshop, WHO Family Planning and Reproductive Health Team Lead, Dr. Musu Duworko, who also represented and acted as a proxy for WHO Country Representative Dr. Peter Clement, expressed excitement and happiness over the gathering. 

“I am excited over this gathering that we can now sit down and learn from Liberia’s experience in the IPC. We have the frontline here, and I am glad about that. Being empowered with the knowledge and skills to protect our country’s IPC is very critical. Our target is to strengthen the resilience of our health system to respond when there is a case,” Dr. Duworko stated.  

According to her, their objective is to ensure that the facility has the knowledge and skills to be able to provide care safely, keeping its care provider and those coming for care safe. She also added that trust in the health sector can lead to patient confidence, which reduces self-treatment, misinformation and disinformation.

Officially launching and opening the workshop and providing a comprehensive powerpoint presentation covering the ten-year milestone of the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola, Liberia experience then and now, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis N. Kateh, said that Liberia has developed a comprehensive IPC to deal with future pandemic outbreaks based on its experiences with Ebola and COVID-19.

He described the workshop as a win for Liberia and a reflection on what transpired in the country during the Ebola crisis and how countries in Africa can learn from the Liberian health sector by listening to our experiences.

According to him, during Ebola and COVID-19, Liberia came from a lot of hopeless situations and later gained lots of positive things that happened in the health sector, assisting the country to defeat COVID-19.

Liberia Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis N. Kateh, said that Liberia 

Dr. Kateh disclosed that during the Ebola outbreak, to enhance control and prevention of the infectious disease, they established the National Public Health Institute, strategized how HR plays a major role in patient care, created a quality management unit, developed a national quality strategy plan, and developed Liberia’s national IPC strategies. 

“We had over 300 health workers that got infected during Ebola. Of that, one 192 died. And so we have been able to improve our method of safely guiding ourselves. To provide services, you have to be alive. And so, IPC is keeping them alive and doing what they love to do. Now, I want to welcome you all and declare this historic workshop open,” he noted. 

Also speaking, National Public Health Institute of Liberia Director General, Ms. Jane Macauley, disclosed that Liberia finds itself at a critical juncture rebuilding a resilient health system after enduring a crucial outbreak such as the 2014 Ebola and the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19.

“Your presence here, joining us from various parts of our continent and the globe, marks a pivotal movement in the pursuit of blistering our healthcare system. This assembly holds special significance as it unites individuals who have exhibited steadfast commitment amid risk and challenge in the IPC Library. A selection for this workshop is timely,” she noted.