World Bank Boosts Liberia’s Ventilators Capacity


As MOH Receives US$1.7M Consignment of Essential Medicine from USAID

The World Bank (WB) has given a boost to Liberia’s preparedness to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the worst-case scenario by donating 20 ventilators to the country.

Liberia, a country of more than 4.5 million people, earlier had seven of the machines for 724,757 persons per ventilator. One of these sits behind the gates of the United States Embassy.

But this ratio has decreased, following yesterday’s donation from the World Bank and ArcelorMittal Liberia a month ago — bringing the total number of working ventilators in the country to 24.

And with 15 of the country’s political sub-divisions now reporting coronavirus cases to 1117, a fraction of Africa’s huge coronavirus caseload, the Bank has made the donation to adequately prepare the country for the threat posed by the virus, especially if cases start to rise and more ventilators are required to aid patients’ recovery.

Even though the number of active cases in the country stands at 433, with 71 deaths and 613 recoveries, public health experts, including Liberia’s infectious disease scientist, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, has warned the country to prepare for a surge in cases at any time by stockpiling essential medical equipment that would be needed to aid the fight against the virus.

But with limited testing, it is impossible to know the real scale of infection in the country in the wake of a daily increase of cases.

“Timely provision of supplies is important to ensure that Liberia meets the targets established in its COVID-19 response plan,” said Sonpson B. Sieh, World Bank Technical Coordinator of Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project. “To detect, diagnose, and treat COVID-19 cases, Liberia must have the necessary supplies of laboratory, medical and personal protective equipment.”

According to Sieh, the donation from the World Bank is geared to ensuring that Liberian “lives are safe by building the health system in the Country.” The donation by the Bank is valued at US$699,500.

This, Sieh said, is part of the US$17 million budget that was given to the government by the World Bank, to respond to the fight against the virus and strengthen the country’s response to disease outbreaks and emergencies.

Its goals are to mitigate and contain the transmission of COVID-19, ensure adequate management of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and strengthen the laboratory network systems for COVID-19 detection and other infectious diseases.

Receiving the donation, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said the ventilators will be distributed to treatment units and major health facilities to ensure people of Liberia are safe.

Allaying fears, the Minister of Health said that the country has technicians who are trained to properly use and maintain the machines, naming the biomedical services and also the emergency medical services (EMS).

“We have 24 ventilators now in Liberia. We are doing very well as a country. These ventilators will be distributed to our treatment units and later to our major health centers to provide the necessary treatment that our people will need, “Dr. Jallah said.

MOH Receives US$1.7M Consignment         

Meanwhile, the ministry has received a consignment of essential medicines from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at buttressing the government’s efforts in the health sector to ensure that the country does not run out of critically needed medicines and health commodities.

According to a release from the ministries, two other consignments are expected to arrive in Monrovia by the end of September this year, through USAID’s support.

“We all worked tirelessly together to ensure that this can be a success. Now, we hope and pray that, as we receive these drugs, they will be distributed properly for the common good of the Liberian people,” the minister said.

While handing over the medicines to the minister, the United States Chargé d’Affaires, Alyson Grunder, speaking through a virtual medium, said the U.S. Government is committed to helping Liberia create a “well-functioning health delivery system that provides all Liberians access to quality health services, including safe, effective, and affordable medicines.”


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