A three-day dialogue on reassigning or maintaining focal point persons of line ministries and agencies within the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) project on Monday, September 23, 2019 kicked off at a resort in Paynesville with many of the focal point persons in attendance.
Those from the health sector could not attend Monday’s event due to a strike they have instituted to claim government’s attention on their plights, including the delay in the payment of their salaries.
CBRN is part of nuclear risk mitigating initiative sponsored by the European Union (EU) in several countries, including Liberia.
The national coordinator of CBRN, Professor Martin Scott Tabi, said as per the protocol establishing the CBRN, focal point persons from line ministries and agencies of government have to be reassigned to maintain efficiency and results oriented system.
“The objective,” Tabi said, is to reduce the potential of risk translating into event as it prepares programs; does investigative researches, carries out consultation with stakeholders and map out areas, which are subject to potential risk or exposing a subject to a CBRN event.
Tabi is the desk officer on European affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and also the progenitor of the CBRN concept since 2013.
The participants are drawn from the Environmental Protection Agency, Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority, the National Standards Lab, and the Ministry of Commerce.
Others are the ministries of Defense, Mines and Energy, the Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police, and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
“The impact of this project is to acquire the ability to report to the Joint External Evaluation of the World Health Organization (WHO) under the “One Health concept,” Tabi added.
He said earlier, the project has trained 65 ‘experts’ in the areas of laboratory equipment management, and regional management of epidemics.
“In Liberia,” he said “we have demonstrated know-how in the regional management of epidemics, mainly during the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD), and other diseases,” Prof. Tabi said.
He said through the CBRN project, a number of people have also been trained in Yaounde, Cameroon on legal issues about the project, including the implementation of several conventions on the CBRN.
“We have biologists trained from the National Public Health Institute. The EPA’s representatives have also participated in training programs in Morocco. Also, some personnel of the National Fire Service received training on how to respond timely to reported fire incidence,” Prof. Tabi said.
He said the CBRN is allowing line ministries and agencies involved to re-designate or assign a new focal-point persons after every three years to allow them have their own evaluation of the outcomes realized through the presence of their representatives.
Meanwhile, a dispatch from the European Union (EU) said it is pleased that the CBRN in Liberia has again convened to access its progress and challenges, while it carries out the re-designation or maintenance of focal point persons from the line ministries and agencies.
“In this interconnected world, and with the economic and technological developments that we are pursuing, there is significant increase in the use, manipulation and transport of CBRN agents and materials. This is generally positive as these substances offer many opportunities, but we should also take the measure of the potential risks they represent for our security, our health, our environment and our economies. This threat can be of different origins. It could be due to an accident or a natural event or it could originate in a criminal act,” the dispatch said.