MOH Commences Testing in Communities

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Health workers testing community residents in Thinker's Village, Paynesville

By Tina S. Mehnpaine

The Ministry of Health with support from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) through the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) has begun establishing testing centers in communities with Thinkers Village the first to be established.

The initiative is one of the approaches the Incident Management System has designed in addition to community engagement to enable health authorities to test more people to ascertain how high or low the Coronavirus rate is in Liberia, especially Monrovia, the epicenter of the outbreak.

According to MOH authorities, testing will be done for five days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and about 1,000 people are expected to be tested within a week.

According to health authorities, the decision to begin establishing community testing centers came upon complaint that people do not have the time to go for testing at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex Testing Center, the only one that has existed in the entire country since the outbreak.

Dr. Yarta Sackie Welto, Montserrado County Health Officer, said MOH will establish a Coronavirus center in the various communities in order to identify new cases to enable authorities to separate COVID-19 carriers from non-carriers.

“This is our first Community testing center and will not be the last; we will carry out testing in all parts of the country,” Dr. Welto said. “We are counting on community dwellers to please show up for the testing because Thinkers Village is one of the hotspots. We encourage the 6 blocks to come for testing, it is free and will help to know your status.”

Dr. Welto said that Montserrado County is the epicenter for COVID-19, and there are several other hotspots that they will reach out to conduct voluntary testing.

“We have a huge number of confirmed cases here in Thinker’s Village, so, we decided to carry out enhanced surveillance.”

We are encouraging all residents including children to come to do their testing because we are aware that there are lots of transmissions. If we find anyone positive, we will take you to the quarantine center, also we will quarantine high-risk people,” the CHO added.

Dr. Obafemi Babalola, Epidemiologist of AFENET, said that his organization will continue to support MOH in the fight against COVID-19.

He, like Madam Welto, said doing the tests will help to reduce the spread of the virus.  “Several others including myself have done their test.  This is not a death sentence,” Babalola said.

Alice Wilson, a community resident who came to do her test said that it is helpful to do the test because it helps a person to know his or her status.

“I want people to come and do their test so they can help other people because for now, everyone is a suspected carrier of the disease until testing is done and one is set free,” said Alice.

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