Liberia Has Only One Lab Available for COVID-19 Testing

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Liberia's Minister of Health

As COVID-19 Cases reach 50

As Liberia records a daily increase confirmed COVID-19 cases, the government has disclosed that it has one testing lab available for a population of 4.4 million people.

In its 26th COVID-19 Situation Report, released Saturday, April 11, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia disclosed that the country only has one existing laboratory, located in Margibi County.

In this case, specimens from Grand Kru, which has reported cases, have to be brought to Margibi, a journey which takes two to three days for test results to be made available. And with the rainy season already in play, which causes roads leading to the hinterland to deteriorate, the journey might take longer.

There exists capacity to test for COVID-19 in country at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) in Margibi. Specimens from live patients and dead cases have been promptly tested daily at the NPHRL by RT-PCR, the report said. Samples transported from designated points across the country to the NPHRL in place and are collected and tested daily as they arrived.”

However, the situation report falls short to explain the number of days it takes for result to be available and how fast is the transportation of specimens from leeward counties, where bad roads slow down the process.

Currently, the number of cases of the coronavirus in the country has now reached 59.

The increase in cases comes as eight more people were diagnosed with the virus on Saturday, just a day after 11 new cases were confirmed in Montserrado County, on Friday, April 10. Of the total number of cases, six people have died, and 3 have recovered and 23 (5 new) individuals are in isolation.

According to the report, the “age range among confirmed cases is one month to 74 years with median age 42 years.”

The report added that the NPHIL has completed 445 (6 new) contacts out of a total number of 889 (58 new) since exposure including 129 (2 new) health workers.

“Symptomatic Contacts 13 (0 new) and {the} number of samples tested is 464 (50 new) and that public health emergency management system has been activated to level 1 at national and county levels in Montserrado and Nimba Counties,” the report discloses.

Accordingly, one of the confirmed cases was imported while 47 were locally transmitted and that six of the indigenous cases have no epidemiological linkage to the index case.

However, not all the identified contacts have been reached. Health Authorities have asked contacted persons to undergo self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, the NPHIL have said those who recovered from COVID-19 are monitored in POC for 14 days before going home—and that work has begun at the Police Training Academy to be used as quarantine centers.

The report added that NPHIL will soon embark on increasing psychosocial support to persons being followed up and that “additional contact tracing teams are expected to be trained and deployed.”

“More education for those in self-quarantine to adhere to the quarantine rules, and update public health advisories.

The sudden increase in COVID-19 Case comes days after Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of Health, issued a warning that the situation may worsen if Liberians continue to disregard the government’s preventive health measures agains the virus.

Also, President George Weah has declared a State of Emergency by which all Liberians, except essential workers, are told to remain at home as strategy to contain the spread of the virus.

“My fellow Liberians, although our health team is working assiduously to complete the testing of scores of contacts, let us recognize that the COVID-19 virus has now entered a new phase in our country as we move from protection to containment. The dynamics of our management of the disease have been significantly changed. There will be required additional strong measures to delay the spreading of this highly infectious virus and keep our public safety,” President Weah said on Wednesday when he announced the state of emergency.

Essential workers include: health workers, security personnel and workers in the food and telecommunications industries. State security office will enforce the State of Emergency, which began April 10 at 11:59.

Although Health Authorities are tight-lipped on the location of the new cases, Sinkor, Airfield, Matadi, Barnesville, Brewerville, Duport Road, GSA Road, Logan Town and Mamba Point, have all reported cases. Other areas that have cases include New Georgia, Old Road, Red Light, Rehab, West Point, ELWA and Vai Town. Even Nimba County (northern Liberia) has reported a new case.


  1. 50 samples enough to find the formula of the treatment. One Lab is enough for fifty; more will come later. Most of these country doctors do not even know how to find the Liberian herbs or city medicine for Liberian mosquito. How they will find COVID? Doctors or not find the money to find the medicine, all officials and workers concerned. Get to work. Test when you find the cure for each person. Otherwise God will soon get mad.

    Do Not answer me. Find the treatment. Praying by myself. Do not enter.

  2. Recommendation : Set up COVID-19 respond teams in all 15 counties, train Laboratory staff to perform test, get more testing kits. One Lab for testing is inadequate for the entire country.

    • James Davis likes your suggestion, but with some modifications . The training of staff will do, the training of lab staff will do. But here’s the one problem. Transporting the lab works to the only center is the problem. Solution: use jet plane of George to transport the lab works to that center. The jet plane is doing nothing while people with the virus or not need to know as to control the virus. Then one problem with using the jet plane of George, no landing fields around. During the 2017 campaign season, George used a jet plane for some areas, and helicopter for other areas. In some African countries medical supplies or laboratories works are transported by helicopter. With one testing center and 15 million US dollars to use for the Coronavirus, why not rent one to help with the testing around the country ? That is money being well spent. Instead of using it to import more women with the virus in the country, spend it on the nation. One rented helicopter can service that one center and even transport patients perhaps from anywhere in the country. Do just that as it was done in 2017 campaign seasons. James Davis is just trying to think outside of the box, while everyone is hold up inside the box. Use the helicopter, use the helicopter to save lives. Some African countries, especially those in East Africa are trained to use helicopters to transport medical supplies to remote villages. Since some African countries are beating their citizens into compliance, and the regime in Monrovia thinks that it is a fair game being practiced amongst some countries, and that the same thing can be carried out in Liberia, well practiced the good others are doing to save lives, and that of children. Use the helicopter to save the only testing center. Thanks for allowing James Davis to ride on your ideas with some independent thoughts of his own.

  3. Okay, one lab so far. Little progress has been made. But more labs are needed. Maybe there is no money. I understand. But let’s do the best we can. So maybe if more labs could be made available, the situation would be greatly enhanced. Maybe there are some who believe that the virus will not spread, so there’s no need to make more labs available. Well, that could be. But the other possibility is that the virus could spread in the backcountry. I hope more people will not get sick in the backcountry though. But what happens if the stars are not in our favor? There will be a lot of hell to pay for. No, no no! Please, let’s not get into the assumption business. Anything can happen! My people please. More labs please. Let’s prepare for the worst. Let’s not make Liberia a laughing stock.

    NPHIL, you’re up to a good start. Thanks for the work you are doing. We love it. But, one lab is not good enough. For a sprawling city like Monrovia and its greater areas, please do a reset once again. One lab? Good try. We need about ten more. Keep trying. You can do it.


  4. The authorities at MOH and NPHIL have refused to decentralized the testing of COVID-19 patients for reasons best known to themselves. For example,Tappita Hospital has the infrastructure to do testing as they were prepared to do ebola testing. Just a single lab is a risk and could mean that if there is any error in testing procedure there will continue to be false results. At least thank God those that are diagnosed are neither seriously ill nor critical. Deaths reported were those tested postmortem. Are our test kits really good? Have we done reference testing for any of our specimens in another lab?
    We need to step up and be truthful in this fight.

  5. God will miraculously protect Liberians!
    Calling for 10 labs or labs in each county is like telling the government of Liberia to send men to the moon right now without a spatial station.

    Let’s encourage our people in the hinterland to not let go of our traditional foods and practices: make good on your ginger, lemon, grapefruit, butter pear, lime. Mix your fever leaf with any leaf and cook your hot soup that will make you to sweat anything out. Our people in Lofa, continue to eat your soda in any soup.
    To all my guys and yankee girlies, don’t forget your “lil root bottle” on the side. Sweat it out and go about your daily activity.
    Remembered, we have germ in Africa, but it’s not …………………….

    My regards to all!

  6. Mr. Dolo,
    In the court of public opinion, every human being has a God-given right to speak out. I expressed myself. I stated what I felt is the right thing to do. You are entitled to your opinions. It doesn’t bother me one way or the other if disagree with my opinion. Your disagreement is not an instrument of change for me.

    Secondly, you predicted approximately four weeks ago, that the “Covid-19 pandemic” would not hit the shores of Liberia. I went back in order to check out where that specific statement of yours was made. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. That’s because you write a whole lot. (I am not accusing you). Sadly, Covid-19 is in Liberia!

    Heaven helps those who help themselves! If the backcountry dwellers prefer to use lime, lemon, grapefruit and pears as a way to fight the pandemic, it’s all good. But I am convinced that treatment centers are needed nationwide in order to defeat the virus. Building a number of treatment centers throughout the country is a way to help oneself. God helps those who help themselves!

    Peace and prosperity. May His will prevail.

  7. The headlines say, “Liberia has only one lab available for COVID-19 testing.” Sounds like a surprise right? Nope, this should not sound like a surprise. Liberians, besides the CDC diehard followers and sympathizers, have known this for a fact that from the very onset of this administration, the ride would be bumpy and in the end, the failure would be catastrophic.

    Whenever an incompetent person is placed at the helm of leadership or an organization, his failure would most likely be the selection of incompetent people to run the organization because he is placed in an area for which he does not have the education, knowledge, and skills.

    But for Weah, who only chooses people whose values are a mirror image of him, his failure is not only incompetency alone. Other factors are his personal attributes. What do I mean about that? His extreme parsimoniousness towards the underprivileged at this time when other leaders within the region are doing all they can to help their unfortunate ones, tells us he is callous hearted and very vicious.

    Certainly, his government is an exact copy, or it purely reflects the DNA replica of his incompetent genes. And for those who still believe that this man has the cognitive faculties to lead Liberia, more rude awakenings await them.

  8. Hney wrote: “Secondly, you predicted approximately four weeks ago, that the “Covid-19 pandemic” would not hit the shores of Liberia. I went back in order to check out where that specific statement of yours was made. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. That’s because you write a whole lot. (I am not accusing you). Sadly, Covid-19 is in Liberia!”

    Good morning Uncle Hney,
    Your paragraph above brought some smiles to my face this morning. Thank God to start the day on a positive note.

    Indeed, the statement you are referring to was a prayer I was offering to God. This is what I said, “COVID-19 will not enter Liberia in Jesus’ name!

    However, building treatment centers around the country would be fantastic. We want the people of Liberia to have easy access to a testing centers and be treated as quickly as possible. This is our hope.
    But looking at the capacity and behavior of the GOL, it would just be right to ask for at most 3 testing centers in the country; 2 in Monrovia and 1 in Ganta.

    The GOL is depending on loan or free money from the WHO or gifts from friendly governments to respond to the pandemic in our country. What then can they do? Demanding testing center in each county for at most 1,000 projected cases would be like asking the government to launch spacecraft from a forest with no spatial station.

    Everyone is entitled to his opinion; I am entitled to mine and you are entitled to yours. I read other people’s opinions, and equally give mine in support or as an addendum or disagree and make a proposal. There should be no qualms about this, please!
    Just read the Ryne Brigil’s opinion above. I am in total agreement with every word or sentence he wrote.
    I give such person thumbs up instead of adding or subtracting what they have said.

    No more war in Liberia!

  9. Mr. Dolo,
    Let’s do an analysis (even though we’re not psychoanalists) on your proposals.

    (1). Two test centers in the Monrovia area.
    My response: Not realistic.

    Because Monrovia and its metropolitan areas are very overcrowded. I would say more overcrowded than when you were there many years ago. Also, because there aren’t good roads in and around the city of Monrovia, it makes good sense for two or three more Covid-19 test centers to be constructed or prepared. By having more test centers, it will be easier and faster to get help than when there’s only one. The bottom line is to save as many lives as possible if the situation requires it. One test center is not a smart idea. It’s a good start.

    (2). One test center in Ganta, Nimba County,

    Not I, but many Liberians will unarguably complain. They will say because you’re a Nimbaian, so therefore it’s a genius idea to you for a Covid-19 test center to be built in Nimba, but not in the far Southeast where you’ve got more people. Your critics will also accuse you of tribalism. Your critics may likely say, “Yes ooo, because he’s from Nimba, so he wants to build one Covid-19 test center in his county. What kanna Gio or Manno man is that, my people”? Guess what? Those potential critics of yours will be right.

    Consider A Hypothetical:

    A Grebo man is seriously sick in Harper City. Torrential rain has caused erosion and therefore the main road that goes from Maryland county to Nimba (where the Nimba president was born) is out of use.
    Question…… President Dolo, would you like to save the lives of Nimbaians as opposed to those who are Marylanders? So why didn’t recommend a place like Gee or Sinoe? Why Nimba? Are you a purist or a racist?

    (3). Your spacecraft analogy is off track. There’s no reason to launch a spacecraft in space if there’s no reason to go in space. If you really want to go to Jupiter, you can do one or two things:

    (a). You can build a spacecraft that will fly around Jupiter and return to earth without landing or

    (b). You can build a spacecraft that doesn’t need a runway. Example, the radar evader F-35 jet fighter is like a jump jet. It doesn’t need a run way.

    But keep in mind. What I am suggesting is a serious business. Covid-19 is vindictive. Covid-19 will devastate the country on every front if politics if politics is allowed to sneak in. Let’s put politics in the bag for now and work together in order to save lives.

    Dolo writes, “But looking at the capacity and behavior of the GOL,……'” Well, to tell you the truth, I am unlike you. Definitely, I am not a critic of the GOL, you’re! But I would like to be explicit…..I do not support every thing that the GOL does. I am a sympathizer. I philosophically support the GOL. The current GOL came to power with their hands tied…..
    (1) No money was left in the Treasury by Weah’s predecessor and

    (2). The country’s economy was in a tank when Weah came to power! Therefore, to look at the GOL as you are suggesting, is unacceptable. I will not be able to play the blame game as you do always.

    Read Brigirl’s comments?
    Are you suggesting that I should embrace Brigirl’s comments because you embrace them? That too is unacceptable.

    As always, peace.

  10. Correct spelling…….Psychoanalyst

    Omitted…why didn’t “you”

    “If politics” should have been mentioned once.

    The errors above are not grammatical errors.

  11. Comrade Hney,

    Why do you always like to take me out of context and sometimes amplify simple things to look tribalistic or nepotistic?
    I must explain every point you made and hope I will not be considered a dictator this time.

    Point 1
    Consider the human capital, allotted resources and daily contamination rate in the country, why do you think we would need more than 2 centers in Monrovia if the one in existence is not even being overused?
    Not everyone will need to be tested, No! I will not advise any of my relatives to be tested if they are not showing any symptoms of the COVID-19.
    The population of Abidjan is almost 3 times that of the entire Liberia and the country currently has 3 testing centers with 826 cases. Why should Monrovia with a population of 1 million people with less than 100 cases have more than 2 centers?

    Point 2
    I would like you to look at the map of Liberia. By the way, Weah promised a coastal highway from Buchanan to Harper in 2 years. He’s been there for more than 2 years now, maybe it’s because of the COVID-19 pandemic the ribbon has not been cut yet. We hope to drive on it maybe in 2027.
    While we wait, the geographical location of Ganta serves as a crossroads for possible patients from Yekepa, the Southeastern region, Gbarnga and probably Lofa to be treated in an area of ‘proximity’.
    It is against this background I have proposed Ganta. I could have said Gbarnga, but it could be tedious for patients from the Southeastern region.
    Why would you have a center in each of those counties with less than 5 reported cases? Don’t make Weah to faint, please!
    This is not about Nimba and it’s not because I am from Nimba. Note this, I am a Liberian and can live in any part of Liberia. I would love for every part of Liberia to enjoy equal developmental projects.
    If I were the president of Liberia for 20 years, I would make each county to be economically viable by specializing it in at least one economic activity. Gbarnga and Kakata would be the learning and think-tank hubs of Liberia.

    Point 3
    My spacecraft analogy is not weak. It simply means a child should first crawl, walk before he can run. A child will never be born and then start to run after one week.
    a) The spacecraft you have built to fly to Jupiter, where does it take off from? From the Executive Mansion or RIA?
    b) The Evader F-35 Jet you are alluding to, does it pick up or land in the Gola Forest or Mount Nimba?
    Of course, we need to have our own satellite in space to facilitate telecommunications, at least. It can be a regional project for now, but a sovereign country needs to have control over its telecommunications. We are vulnerable as a nation with no secret as compared to Western nations.

    COVID-19 shows a vicious and bloody face to every nation. Vindictive to Africa, I come against this word and bind it in Jesus name. the children of God need NOT be afraid. We need to adhere to simple WHO guidelines: social distancing, constant watching of hands, avoid hand shaking, etc.
    Africa will be victorious over this pandemic, like the children of Israel in Egypt. This plague will Passover Africa and the children of God, because we are shielded with the blood of Jesus.

    Money was left in the Treasury by Weah’s predecessor, Weah and the Hebrew Boys will one day tell the Liberian people where they got the money to rebuild their houses into mansions, buy private jet, and even print additional banknotes. They will one day give account for the missing billions, make no mistake about that.

    The country’s economy was in a slow but sustained growth. The figures are there. They can be consulted anytime by anyone. Weah is crippling it. Very soon everything will dry up, and civil servants may not even be paid.

    By me agreeing with someone should in no way mean you too should agree with such person. We are different individuals with different philosophical, ethical and educational backgrounds.

    No more war in Liberia!

  12. Comrade Dolo,
    If there’s a person who takes things that I write out of context, it’s you. Example, I used the words “may threaten”. You thought I meant the word “can threaten” a sitting US president. Remember?

    Okay so let’s go down the list according to the issues you have raised:

    1. We need more centers for treating Corvid-19 patients because we want to be fully prepared just in case of an unexpected colossal outbreak. It is good to be in a state of preparedness. It makes no sense to say let’s wait until things get really, really bad before test centers are built. However, if the virus is contained soon enough, no harm would have been done.

    Secondly, you need to come to grips with this reality….”Say what you mean and mean what you say”! In other words, you always caution against the use of comparisons. There you are giving a lecture about Abidjan. Who cares whether Abidjan has more people than Liberia? Just because the number of infected people in Liberia is lower than the Ivory coast does not mean it is logical for the GOL to photocopy the Ivorian model. Take a listen. I grew up in a state where it used to snow badly. As a way of preparing for snow, the city government made ample preparation before the snow fell. Strangely, there were times when the snow didn’t drop from the skies as much as it was anticipated. It’s a good rule of thumb to be in a state of readiness. Like you, I hope and pray for the people of Liberia.

    Rebuttal on point number 2:
    There is no reason why the issue of politics should take hold in this intellectual exchange. For instance, you’re disparaging Weah because he made a campaign promise to build roads. The topic is “test centers”. The population of the Southeast region of Liberia, has more people (approximately 6 counties) than Nimba. Furthermore, the county of Nimba is closer to Montserrado than Maryland, Gee, Kru Coast, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, etc. How dare you say Weah has been unable to build roads? Yes, Weah is not as educated as Johnson Sirleaf or maybe as Commings and the rest of the presidential aspirants. But, building a Covid-19 test center in Ganta that could serve 6 Southeastern counties is the kind of proposal that Weah will never put on the table. Never!

    F-35 jet fighter! (Cheers young guy)
    No. The fighter jet does not “drop gravity bombs” in the tropical Gola rain forest. The jet has no reason to go there. So how did the Gola people get in? Are you trying to create sympathy? I will solicit the support of Joe Jr. and his family as well as Zoedjallah and a Minnesota gentleman like Mr. Right.To. Be. Anonymous to align with me because you are off track! I am surprised that you did not suggest that the F-35 jet fighter should have a special factory built in Karnplay or Tappita. During the ANC leadership, I suppose every Liberian will be forced to take lessons in the Nimba County langua Franca.

    You will come against the word “vindictive” and bind it? Okay. Do it. But I likewise will bind your plan to build a Covid-19 test center in Ganta. You seem to care less about 6 Southeastern counties. That’s bad politics. I will not be surprised if 200,000 jobs are not created in that area in 50 days.

    We the people of Liberia will prevail despite the odds that are stacked against us. We will band with our Gola brothers and sisters in this fight. No. The F-35 jet fighter will not go to Bomi.

  13. transforming it into tribalism and nepotism. Nothing on me, my life and the people I associate with, nothing in my life can prove to be tribalistic or nepotistic.
    To all my beloved Gola sisters and brothers, please read what I said. Comrade Hney just want to associate me with tribalism or nepotism.
    I am NEVER a tribalist nor a nepotist. My examples were alluding to the F-35 Jet.

    Also, my example of Ganta was simply a point of easy access to many with reduced costs, considering the human capital and resources at the disposal of the government to fight the COVID-19.
    There is no hatred in this thing, please.

    Now, Comrade, try us in 2023, the southeastern region would be great tourist attraction in the country, the ports of Cape Palmas, Greenville and Harper would be fishing and cash crops ports. The southeastern region would be the most economically vibrant part of Liberia, outside Monrovia.

    Stay safe, Hney!

  14. Again, tribalism and nepotism. You are again taking everything out of context and transforming it into tribalism and nepotism. Nothing on me, my life and the people I associate with, nothing in my life can prove to be tribalistic or nepotistic.
    To all my beloved Gola sisters and brothers, please read what I said. Comrade Hney just want to associate me with tribalism or nepotism.
    I am NEVER a tribalist nor a nepotist. My examples were alluding to the F-35 Jet.

    Also, my example of Ganta was simply a point of easy access to many with reduced costs, considering the human capital and resources at the disposal of the government to fight the COVID-19.
    There is no hatred in this thing, please.

    Now, Comrade, try us in 2023, the southeastern region would be great tourist attraction in the country, the ports of Cape Palmas, Greenville and Harper would be fishing and cash crops ports. The southeastern region would be the most economically vibrant part of Liberia, outside Monrovia.

    Stay safe, Hney!


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