By Tina S. Mehnpaine
The United States Government in partnership with the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG) has presented 2,000 face shields and 95 and nose masks, 7,000 surgical tools, 100 bottles of hand sanitizer, and thousands of personal protective suits to the Armed Forces of Liberia to help fight COVID-19.
JWARG is a U.S. Department of Defense funded collaborative initiative that leverages existing research platforms and relationships to improve bio preparedness by strengthening research capabilities in West Africa.
Its aim is to improve laboratory and clinical research capabilities, enable the development of effective infectious disease countermeasures including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
At the donation which was held on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at the Edward B. Kesselly Barracks in Margibi county, Prince C. Johnson lll, Chief of Staff of the AFL, said the items given will be used to strengthen the military staff whenever they are called to duty, and in that way, they will be able to help.
“We are indeed grateful to the US government. Like we always say, partnership helps to mitigate some of the challenges we faced around the world.”
He also said that the items will be sent out to their installation centers that include the barracks to be used whenever the commander-in-Chief calls upon the military to get involved.
“We can now say that the military is fully prepared anytime they are called upon,” said General Johnson.
He said in times of crisis society will always depend on the Army for protection and when they are not fully equipped, they will not be able to respond actively.
The Chief of staff also thanked JWARG for partnering with the US government to provide the materials to strengthen the AFL for the fight against COVID-19.
Matthew Alden, US Defense Ataché, said the items donated will enable the AFL to stand firm against the pandemic.
“The virus has killed thousands of Americans and multiple Liberians; we will continue to support the government of Liberia until the end,” said Alden.
He said because of the long-lasting relationship between the U.S. government and the Government of Liberia, they will continue to give their support.
“The partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of Liberia is very strong and is the strongest and best partner for years to come,” he added.
He also said that the items will be used by JWARG through the AFL to find a coronavirus vaccine that will be distributed worldwide.
Candace Eastman, Project Director of JWARG, said her organization will continue to work with the AFL in providing technical support. She said that the donation is a way of preparing the AFL to keep them safe during the pandemic. She noted that the military is the backbone of every society and, when they are well prepared and safe, they will be able to respond to call of duty.