One Month Old Baby Diagnosed With COVID-19 in Liberia

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Geographical Distribution of Confirmed Cases by Health Districts, Liberia, 12 April 2020

The National Public Health Institute of Liberia has announced that a one-month-old baby has been infected with the coronavirus—bringing the country’s total case to 71.

In its 28th situation report, released on April 12, NPHIL disclosed that “the age range among confirmed cases is one month to 74 years with a median age of 42 years.”

The report created by the institute also provided information about the baby birthplace, which is Montserrado County, the epicenter of the virus.

But the report falls short to inform the public how the baby got the virus and whether the baby’s mother tested positive before she gave birth.

It also did not disclose the current health status of the baby and the mother.

According to NPHIL, the country has 71 cases, out of which “36 are cases in isolation and “57 high-risk contacts under observation.”

The report added that the country has so far recorded 6 deaths and 4 recoveries.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases by date of reporting, Liberia, March 12 – April 12, 2020.

The NPHIL in its situation report added that it has embarked on ongoing construction work at the 14 Military Hospital and Star Base to expand its current capacity and has identified Rally Time Hospital in Grand Kru County as the initial treatment unit.

“Sample collection kits transported to counties and county diagnostic officers and two additional lab technicians have been mentored in Grand Kru. NPHIL successfully validated the PCR-based tests donated by the Chinese government, and Laboratory assessments are ongoing to expand the national laboratory network from one.

“But the global shortage of key laboratory supplies is resulting in serious delays with the delivery of urgently required reagents, primers, probes, extraction kits, and viral transport media,” the report said.

In a related development, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah has cautioned public and private health facilities to avoid turning away patients seeking medical care.

Min Jallah added that health facilities need to be considerate of “pregnant women in labor pain, those with other underlying health conditions, to include diabetes, high blood pressure, among others.

“Please look at the identity of the health care workers carefully and do not stop and detain doctors, nurses, and other health care workers for hours at night,” Dr. Jallah said.

Min. Jallah’s comment came after many residents have complained that they do not have access to adequate health care, as health workers fear for their lives. Even some health workers have reported being assaulted and detained by state security during the first few days of the lockdown, especially in Paynesville and Monrovia cities, due to lack of government-issued passes. An executive of the National Health Workers Association said earlier this week that not all health workers were given passes by the government, something that is hampering their ability to function during this national health emergency.

In 2015 National Institutes of Health also found that only 20-30% of people receiving treatment during the Ebola crisis also sought treatment in urban centers of Liberia. The study showed that doctors are seeking prenatal and obstetric treatment and emergency services.

Meanwhile, Min. Jallah has called on state security officers enforcing the state of emergency to allow health workers to a passage at various checkpoints.

Meanwhile, Min. Jallah has called on state security officers enforcing the state of emergency to allow health workers to a passage at various checkpoints

“We want to make sure that health care workers can go to work on time because if they do not get to the health facilities on time, patients cannot go to the health facilities and will be turned away,” the health minister said.

Min. Jallah, therefore, directed state security officers to contact the Health Ministry if they had issues with the identity of any health worker, as the government could not issue access passes to all health workers.

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