NPHIL Boss  Madam Jane MaCauley NPHIL Boss  Madam Jane MaCauley

NPHIL Boss Wants Health Security Strengthened

MONROVIA, LIBERIA -Given the enormous task in the health sector, the Director of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has urged stakeholders to promote issues with a high degree of enthusiasm and a higher level of acceptability to concentrate all efforts and resources required to strengthen health security.

Madam Jane MaCauley pointed out that one of the significant challenges being faced is that health security has to compete with other issues backed by better-resourced constituencies. The NPHIL boss was speaking Monday, August 16, 2021 at the start of a three-day brainstorming forum on the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS). The three-day forum is being held at the Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville, outside Monrovia with participants drawn from key government functionaries including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia Medicines and Health Product Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) among others, and with support from Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Therefore, if the public interest is going to be increased, we need to ensure that health security issues are highlighted amongst our country’s emerging health priority needs. In today’s workshop, we shall also listen to a presentation on working with specific constituencies to promote health security,” she stated. According to her, during the course of the three days’ period, participants will listen to experts’ presentations that will focus on biosafety and biosecurity, food security, emergency response operations, real-time surveillance, linking public health with security, among others. She noted that other topics directed to providing evidenced-based scientific measures and tools for empowerment of country-level response to achieving health security.

“These types of tools and methodologies are crucial to our work. Therefore, we must promote the adoption of such measures to determine, after today’s workshop, whether there is action behind the concept of improving health security around the world. These measures should also help to reinforce accountability, expose the gaps, and promote discourse at various levels, including highlighting new commitments to support health security on the national policy agenda,” indicated the NPHIL boss. “Consideration should also be given to broadening our horizons and focusing on emerging global issues that have the potential to sideline attention to health security,” she pointed out. 

Dr. Yoti Zabulon, Acting Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to Liberia, lauded the Liberian government for creating the environment to look at health as a priority. He said the ongoing forum will enable stakeholders to assess the major challenges in the sector and to find a way forward. “This is a forum to take stock of where we are and where we are headed. We have good progress but we need to keep our resilient capacity,” noted Dr. Zabulon, stressing that Liberia is not off the hook yet amid the emergence of new diseases across major borders.  

“We need and we still have a lot to do. We are aware of the Marburg virus disease in Guinea and the discovery of Ebola in Ivory Coast,” he asserted. Dr. Rachael Idowu of the US-CDC vowed the US government’s continuing support to the health sector of Liberian as she recounted on the numerous support provided by the US government as well as its ongoing support to the Government and People of Liberia in the area of health.  “The CDC has been supporting Liberia since Ebola and will continue that partnership. Liberia is setting an example. We will support you when you can come together and look forward to work strategically,” the US government official said.

Mr. A. Vaifee Tulay, Deputy Health Minister for Planning and Research Development at Ministry of Health, asserted that the ongoing meeting is in the right direction as it is intended to craft a national document of our national plan. According to him, this comes at a critical time, especially when country through the Health Ministry is updating its health policy and review. “The relevance of this is that we are having an integrated agenda so that we do not have different agenda spread out there,” he stated. Deputy Minister Tulay then stressed the need transparency in public health information must be done. “Transparency in public health information must be done. In a country where illiteracy is high, our communicat6strategy must be channeled properly so as to not mislead the public,” he added.

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