NPHIL Boss Proposes Establishment Of Two Regional Testing Labs

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Dr. Mosoka Fallah alongside other staffs from NPHIL at the Phebe Hospital

The Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Dr. Mosoka Fallah, the establishment of two regional testing labs at Phebe Hospital in Bong County and Fish Town, River Gee County.

Dr. Fallah said the setting up of regional testing labs will help ramp up the Country’s testing capacity and put health authorities in a better position to contain the spread of the virus.

The NPHIL boss was speaking recently during the ongoing assessment tour across six counties country.

NPHIL and the Ministry of Health (MoH) are conducting a series of assessments on the preparedness and response strategies of County Health Teams (CHTs) against the coronavirus.

The Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Dr. Mosoka Fallah, and Health Minister and Head of the Incident Management System, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah are leading the tour in Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties. The team first headed to Bong and Nimba Counties on Thursday, May 28, 2020, to review their Covid-19 response strategies and access the Precautionary Observation Centers (POCs) in the two Counties.

Bong County is one of five Counties including Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, and River Gee, which have not recorded cases of the virus.

Nimba County has recorded seven cases and four deaths. Accordingly, Dr. Fallah said the establishment of the two regional labs is necessary to speedily run the tests of infectious diseases like COVID-19 in the County.

“In terms of preparedness, we want to know about the lab. One of the things we’re trying to push for is to have decentralizing labs because the structures are already set for molecular testing,” noted the NPHIL boss.

He vowed the Institute’s commitment to conduct training for nurses and help with the running of COVID-19 tests on an accurate and timely basis.

At the Nimba County IMS meeting, Dr. Fallah also promised to ensure the training of two Genexperts to conduct lab tests. The Genexpert test is a molecular test for TB.

The Genexpert diagnoses TB by detecting the presence of TB bacteria, as well as testing for resistance to the drug Rifampicin. Giving an overview of the tour during day one of the trip at the Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, stated that the significance of the tour was to understand the prevailing conditions of counties with or without cases while fighting COVID-19.

Minister Jallah said adequate preparations and a vibrant containment strategy through strengthening the health systems of counties are the surest way to enhancing the fight against the virus.

“What we found out in the past was that even though we thought people were prepared and on the countdown to go back to zero, it is also good to know how prepared are we. You can’t wait for the case to be on you people you said I’m looking for POC, am trying to this one; I’m trying to this one. This is why it is good to prepare early for that first case”, Dr. Jallah said as she addressed the County Health Team of Bong County.

The County Health Officer (CHO) of Nimba County, Dr. Philip Saah, in a brief, explained that the local health team has been able to respond to the virus under the six pillars, which include: coordination, surveillance, case management social mobilization, psychosocial and logistics.

The team, which ended the tour on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, with visits to Bomi and Grand Cape Counties, had completed visits to Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties where they inspected the CH Rennie Hospital in Kakata, the POC and the Du-side hospital in Margibi County.

The visit also took Dr. Fallah and the rest of the team from NPHIL to the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan and the ArcelorMittal Health Center, POC, and the treatment center in Grand Bassa County.

At the end of the tour, an assessment report will be developed to highlight the challenges and progress of Counties fighting COVID-19 for consideration by Health Authorities and partners.

“Our reporter on the tour named inadequate ambulances, medical equipment for health workers, and inadequate training for nurses on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight in the counties as challenges being posed to the CHTs.

Liberia has now recorded 296 cases of the coronavirus since the first patient was diagnosed on March 16, 2020. Twenty-seven deaths and 159 recoveries have been recorded so far since the outbreak.

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