.....Health Minister Jallah says
MONROVIA-As Liberia received additional doses of Astrazeneca COVID vaccine, Health Minister Dr. Wilheminah Jallah sai dthe Astrazeneca is safe, noninfectious and will greatly help in preventing health workers who are fighting the virus to be safe as they go about their duties.
According to Dr. Jallah, the arrival of the second badge of consignment also erased the misinformation circulating in the public about the vaccine and install hope for healthcare workers on grounds that they can now perform their duties without fear of contracting the disease.
On March 22, 2021, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare received additional 27,000 doses of Astrazeneca COVID vaccine from Lonestar Cell MTN, as part of the GSM Company cooperate responsibility.
The vaccine was made available through a unique public private partnership by MTN, Africa's leading mobile network and the African Union in a major commitment to the health of the continent, MTN made the donation in January 2021 to accelerate the AU's critical programme which aimed at securing up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine overall, to be spread across all 55 African Union (AU) member states for healthcare workers specifically.
The Liberian Health Minister noted that the vaccine will be administered to healthcare workers on the frontline as soon as possible. As of date, Liberia had recorded 2,042 COVID-19 cases with 85 deaths and 1,899 recovered.
Dr. Jallah recounted the MTN Group's supports to maternal and neonatal child health, including the huge support provided to the government of Liberia, during the Ebola epidemic that hit the country between 2014-2016.
She bewailed; "Today is another big day here in Liberia. We are glad that MTN Group, through its Liberia branch, Lonestar Cell MTN could partner with the Government of Liberia in our collective desires to see Liberia return to zero cases of coronavirus by the provision of additional 27,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.
She continued: "With support from Lonestar Cell MTN, we are receiving additional doses of the life-saving AstraZeneca Vaccine, especially for health care workers fighting on the battlefield to ensure that we survive and thrive. We are extremely proud of this partnership because it provides an opportunity to protect healthcare workers. Also, it represents a major victory for which we are forever grateful."
She stated that the government of Liberia, especially President George Manneh Weah, remains grateful to the MTN family for the provision of the COVAX VACCINE which she term as essential to protecting Healthcare workers and the entire population from contracting the deadly COVID-19 Virus.
Lonestar Cell MTN CEO Rahul De stated that public and private partnerships are imperative if they are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social-economic norms in communities.
Mr. De said the donation of the 27,000 vaccine doses is essential to Liberia's fight against COVID-19. Even though it is not MTN's first time supporting health care to Liberia, due to the alarming need for support to Liberia's healthcare workers treating the sick during COVID-19 response, the MTN Group saw the urgent need to provide 75 million dollars worth of COVAX VACCINE for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said that the initiative is part of the MTN Group's continued support to Liberia's healthcare delivery system, including support for maternal and neonatal health.
"We believe that collaboration with the government in its corporate-social partnership is essential to the growth of Liberia and our respective endeavors," Lonestar MTN CEO De said.
For his part, Nimba County District number three lawmaker, Joseph N. Somwarbi, described the initiative as a laudable effort and rewarding partnership.
"We consider our healthcare workers to be because; currently COVID-19 has community transmission that it exists in our various communities. And our health care workers across the country there are exposed to the virus," Rep. Somwarbi said.
"On this basis, sitting to think and providing 27,000 doses, which we look at it to be two doses per person, you have targeted to cover 13,500 workers in the country."
According to him, it is one thing to give the vaccine and another thing to hide it from the targeted beneficiaries.
Hon. Somwarbi, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Health, lauded the Lonestar Cell MTN family and expressed his desire to seeing the equitable effective and efficient distribution of the vaccine.