LIBERIA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered a huge consignment of Infection Prevention Control (IPC) supplies and laboratory diagnostic kits to Liberia to strengthen the response to COVID-19 and improve preparedness to EVD.

The supplies donated included diagnostic kits for COVID-19 and supplies for IPC in health facilities.

This is a subsequent donation following lifesaving medicines and laboratory supplies for testing COVID-19 and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) donated to the government of Liberia by the WHO in March this year.

The supplies included Praziquantel tablets to treat nearly 1 million people through community mass drug administration, and assorted laboratory reagents and supplies for testing 10,000 suspected COVID-19 samples and 100 suspected EVD samples.

The current wave of COVID-19 pandemic is challenging to the already stretched health system in Liberia. The country has so far reported 3156 cases, 95 fatalities and 2,105 recoveries according to Africa CDC.

Recent data emanating from the national Incident Management System (IMS) shows a steady increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Liberia, especially in the nation’s capital city.

The current wave of COVID-19 pandemic is challenging to the already stretched health system in Liberia. However, I am optimistic that our collective efforts and support during this pandemic to improve testing and strengthen IPC measures will prevent further spread of COVID-19”, says Dr. Peter Clement, WHO Representative in Liberia.

Receiving the supplies, the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked WHO and all partners fighting together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health with required technical and financial support to control the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring uninterrupted access to other essential health services.

Liberia was most hit by the 2014 Ebola outbreak given its fragile health system.

After an Ebola outbreak was declared in Guinea earlier this year, there was urgent need to increase epidemic surveillance and prepare for potential Ebola patients in Liberia.

Before the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014, Liberia struggled with a very weak health system that was devastated and weakened by a protracted civil war.

The North African country had just 50 doctors for its 4.3 million population with poor capacity to respond to an epidemic of that magnitude.

At the time, the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, led the response to stop the outbreak and together with partners, mobilized both human and material resources to end the outbreak in 2015.

However, a number of lessons were learnt in the process of responding to the outbreak.

Some of these lessons have been deployed to strengthening the health system in Liberia and preparing it to respond not only to Ebola outbreaks but outbreak of any other epidemic prone diseases.

These lessons have actually been successfully applied to enhanced disease surveillance and response in Liberia.

Other important areas where they have been applied include response to meningococcal disease cluster in Foya district, Liberia.