21 February 2013

Liberia: 'Blood Test Is Health Ministry's Requirement'

The General Manager of the Liberty Investment Limited, producer of the Aqua Life mineral water in Liberia says the blood test which was carried out by the company on its employees was part of several requirements set by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW).

Mr. Paulinus Kofie explained that the blood sample gathered from employees of the company was intended to ensure that they are free from all forms of communicable and other diseases.

Clarifying reports that blood was extracted from employees of the company for ritualistic purposes, Mr. Kofie said, "the blood testing exercise is a requirement from the Ministry of Health and it is not intended for any ritualistic purpose."

He said the testing of employees' blood was done in consultation with the leadership of the workers union and the entire workforce.

This assertion by the Aqua Life General Manager was also corroborated by the Chairman of the company's Workers Union Grievance Committee, Fayiah Borbor.

According to a communication reportedly sent to the Aqua Life management, signed by Momo Kamara of the Division of Environmental Health at the Ministry of Health, the testing is a periodic medical examination that is in compliance with the public health and safety laws of Liberia.

The communication stated that the process is to inoculate the employees against tetanus and obtain health certificate every six months.

According to another communication allegedly sent from the Redemption Hospital titled: "Medical Certificate for Work" dated, March 15, 2012, the employees were examined in the Out Patient Department of the hospital and were found free of all 'communicable diseases and fit for work'.

It was recently reported that the Management of Aqua Life Mineral Water Company extracted some quantity of blood from its employees for ritualistic purposes.

At the same time, the Company says it acknowledged the shortage of water in Monrovia and other parts, but blamed the situation on the lack of raw materials to produce water plastics.

The Media Consultant of the Company, Willemina Garr-Stevens said the company is working to ensure that situation of water shortages is addressed within the next two weeks.

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