The New Dawn (Monrovia)

24 December 2012

Liberia: County Health Team Gets Major Boost

In an effort to strengthen and expand the quality of health care services in Nimba County, a fleet of 12 AG 100 Yamaha motorcycles and two Toyota Land Cruiser Jeeps, including a state of the art ambulance has been presented to the Nimba Team.

With a total cost of over US$240,000, the donation is said to be one of the largest logistical supports ever provided to any county health system. The items were presented to the Nimba County Health Team on Wednesday, December 19, 2912 at the G. W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, Nimba County.

An international non-governmental organization, Africare Liberia provided the assistance as part of USAID funded Essential Package Health Services, EPHS Project which the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare supervises here. The project is a two-year performance based program, aimed at making quality healthcare and social protection services accessible and affordable to all Liberians.

Under the program, Africare Liberia is providing basic training for district health staff, medical equipment and consumables as well as incentives for staff, among others to 39 out of 63 health facilities in Nimba County.

Conducting the presentation, Africare Liberia Country Director Mr. Ernest Gaie, declared the organization's enthusiasm in assisting the county health team to improve quality health delivery through logistical and technical support.

Mr. Gaie said the donation will not only benefit the clinics supported by Africare Liberia, but also facilitate joint supervision of health services at the county, and enable district health workers to reach out to very remote communities in carrying out their duties.

"We have indicated that we will strengthen the capacity of the county health team to expand the delivery of the essential package of health services throughout this county. We are here to ensure that every resident of this county benefits from this project", he asserted.

The Africare Liberia Boss urged the county health team to use the vehicles and motorcycles for their intended purposes other than public transport or personal errands.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gaie has appealed to the local authorities of Nimba County and the Ministry of Public Works to also contribute towards the maintenance of the assets by improving feeder roads in the county, something he noted, if not done, could shorten the lifespan of the vehicles and bikes.

For his part, Nimba County Health Officer Dr. Paul Wesseh, said the lack of adequate logistical support has been a major challenge, and one of the prime reasons for not performing their duties efficiently over the past six years. Dr. Wesseh commended Africare Liberia and described the gift as a dream come true.

He pointed out that the vehicles, particularly the ambulance will make the community feel the impact of the county health services, saying "The ambulance service is one of those services that really touch the heart and soul of our people in the village, and that's how they feel we care for them."

Dr. Wesseh, who is also the County Medical Director, assured that the vehicles and motorcycles will be used for the intended purposes. He warned officers in charge of clinics to avoid using the bikes for personal activitites, stressing "In as much as Dr. Wesseh does not own a vehicle at the County Health Team, no O-I-C owns bike."

Facilities to benefit from the bikes are Bonlay, Buutuo, Duoplay, Garplay, Gbeivononwea, Goagartuo, Loguatuo, Younlay, Dioalla, Mehnla, Mid Baptist and YMCA clinics, respectively in the county.

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