Liberia: Courtesy of Oxfam - Coronavirus Buckets

Also provides soap for National WASH Commission

Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam), a humanitarian organization founded in Great Britain in 1942, is part of the non-governmental institutions in Liberia providing relief in many areas including sanitation and hygiene, and gender issues.

In line with its relief objective, Oxfam has provided 775 pieces of 20-liter buckets with faucets, and 260 pieces of citron soap to the National WASH Commission of Liberia through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL). The buckets and soap are basically meant to help the NPHIL and National WASH Commission to meet up with the preventive task against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) that is spreading across China and other countries in Asia and Europe.

"Oxfam seeing the need for hand washing as the best alternative to prevent diseases such as the Coronavirus that is in China decided to provide these pieces of soap and buckets with faucets to enhance your work. We hope and pray that Coronavirus will not reach here, but we are doing this because it is in line with best practice, said Aruna Augustine Kamara, Influencing Coordinator, Oxfam-Liberia.

Oxfam spent the total US$7, 652.5 to purchase the WASH materials to help the health sector at this time of prevention emergency.

Mosoka Fallah, Director of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, excitedly accepted the gesture of Oxfam and said: "We do not have vaccine or any kind of medicine here, but this is the best way of preventing this disease, and thank God that Oxfam is the first of our partners to come to our call with an assistance to fight this disease."

Buckets being unloaded from an Oxfam pickup

He said what is left for implementation now is to enforce the practice of hand-washing, which is the cardinal responsibility of the WASH Commission.

The WASH Pillar Meter sets priorities in place, one of which is hand washing. However, implementing this pillar has been challenging, according to National WASH Commission Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Whitfield.

The challenge, according to him, is the unavailability of materials such as buckets and soap provided by Oxfam. Whitfield said the Safe Hygiene protocol introduced on January 29 this year is in force and the National WASH Commission wants every person living in the territorial confines of Liberia to be cognizant of this to practice hand washing as a way of preventing the disease that is spreading across China and other neighboring countries.

"These buckets will be placed in strategic areas; they will be placed at the doors of churches, mosques, schools and public buildings, to enable people to have access to hand washing materials," said Whitfield.

Although there is only one confirmed case on the African continent -- specifically Egypt, the World Health Organization has already declared the Coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.

According to the BBC, there are outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran, and 77,000 people have contracted the disease while 2,600 have died. 1,200 cases have been confirmed in other countries with more than 20 deaths.

Italy reported three deaths on Monday, February 24, in addition to the first three, which totaled six deaths so far.

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