Members of the Liberia Public Health Association (LPHA) have pledged to commit their professional services to the fight against COVID-19 and called on the Government of Liberia to include them in the fight.
At a recent press conference in Monrovia, LPHA urged the government to allow the public health practitioners along with their international counterparts to use their expertise and experience in infectious disease control to counter the disease instead of making it politically sensational.
Justifying their participation in the fight against the Coronavirus, the LPHA told journalists that the death rate associated with the virus continues to be on the increase as compared to other the developing countries, and this, they predict, is due to the absence of more health workers.
Many health workers, for fear of contracting the virus, are withdrawing from catering to patients. Furthermore, others have been left out of the Coronavirus Pandemic fight perhaps due to political interest as over 600 contact tracers believed to be loyal to the ruling party were recruited by Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee in recent times.
The statement by LPHA was delivered by its COVID-19 Response Team secretary General, Etmonia Martin.
Madam Martin said based on President Weah’s communication addressed to the National Response Coordinator of the Executive Committee on Coronavirus (ECOC), Mary T. Broh, calling on all former and retired health workers to join the fight, the association sees it expedient to call back to service all of its members who have been out of job to come on board.
“The acceptance of LPHA into the national fight against Coronavirus shall impact the response greatly because the expertise of our members is diversely ranging from public health to community mobilization, clinical, research, managerial and other technical backgrounds capable of helping to manage the outbreak,” she said.
She said their members have already positioned themselves to participate in the pillar of the Incident Management Team Coordination, which comprises the Epi-Surveillance, Case Management, Case Investigation, Contact tracing, Laboratory Testing, Psychosocial Counseling, WASH, Dead Body Management, Risk Communication, Logistics, and Supplies.
Madam Martin told reporters that LPHA members feel loyal to the life-saving philosophy of the health profession, and that is why there is an urgent need for inclusion of competent and qualified skilled workers with public health and clinical knowledge and other specialties as appropriate human resource decision to be taken by the community, national and international institutions and leaders of the Country’s health system.
She said the Association has over 2000 members who are specialized in diverse public health areas including Epidemiology, Public Health Research, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Community Health, Health Care Policy, Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, and Sociology.
“Our team,” Madam Martin said, “also comprises undergraduate and graduate public health students from all institutions providing training in public health as well as clinicians.”
LPHA was established in 1976 to assist in improving public health services in Liberia. It was reactivated in 2018 by Dr. Francis Kateh, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer who is the current President of this professional body. The Association serves as the public health membership-based think-tank of Liberia.