The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through the Liberia Institute for Geo-Information Services or LISGIS loan four two-cabin Toyota pick-ups, five Yamaha bikes and 60 pieces of RG+6 Techno mobile phone to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NPHIL to boost ongoing fight against the coronavirus here.
LISGIS is partnering with UNFPA and other multilateral donors to conduct national population and housing census in 2021.
United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNFPA Resident Representative to Liberia, Dr. BannetNdyanabangi, says the logistics are intended to empower the NPHIL carry out contact tracing in the two affected counties, Montserrado and Margibi.
"Interruption of the Coronavirus transmission in the community is premised on the early detection and prompt isolation of new cases. During disease outbreak with established person-to-person transmission, new cases are more likely to emerge among contacts. For this reason, it is critical that all potential contacts of suspected, probable and confirmed cases are systematically identified and put under observation for the maximum incubation period of the disease," says Dr. Ndyanabangi.
"On behalf of UNFPA", Dr. Ndyanabangi said; "we are glad to be here to support NPHIL." He stresses that though the country has three confirmed cases, all those people with whom the infected persons had contact, will have to be followed or traced.
The UNFPA Resident Representative assures that UNFPA and LISGIS will be working together to support the surveillance pillar of the national response; specifically contact tracing, stressing, "We have to ensure that every person that gets in contact with a COVID-19 infected person is followed and all the contacts are traced to stop further spread of the virus in the society."
He says the 60 phones have been loaded with SIM cards and data, and will be connected with softwares for effective contact tracing.
UNFPA also provides drivers and riders for both the vehicles and bikes. However, the logistics are expected to be returned to LISGIS for the census next year.
LISGIS Director-General Professor Francis Wreh hopes that at the end of the exercise, the items will be returned.
NPHIL Deputy Director General for Technical Services Ms. McJane Macauley, lthanks UNFPA and LISGIS for their support to the national response of the COVID-19, adding, "We shall ensure the proper use of the vehicles, motorbikes and mobile phones," she vows.
The House of Representatives adopted Joint Resolution 003/2020 recently, authorizing the Executive branch of government to conduct National Census on March 8, 2021.
Article 39 of the Constitution of Liberia empowers the National Legislature to carry out national census every 10 years.
Liberia has registered three confirmed cases of the virus with no fatality, but health authorities are tracing dozens of contacts, which creates an urgent need for logistics that the NPHIL currently lacks.
President George Manneh Weah recently appointed Acting Executive Director, Doctor MosokaFallah to head the institute, created after a successful fight against the Ebola virus in 2015 with assistance from the Center for Disease Control of the United States.