By: Sylvester Choloplay
Liberia: As Liberia strives to strengthen its health system to cater for emergencies, the country has made a significant effort evident by the dedication of the first ever largest medical oxygen plant in Monrovia.
The oxygen plant will help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and serve all hospitals with the treatment of other recurrent diseases, such as: pneumonia.
It also has the capacity to produce 100 cylinders of medical oxygen per day which is projected to serve about two million inhabitants in Montserrado and Margibi Counties respectively.
The project is being undertaken by the World Health Organization with funding support from the American Government/USAID, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Canada, and the Federal Republic of Germany.
Liberian President George Weah, on behalf of the Liberian Government on Tuesday – October 25, 2022, launched and commissioned Liberia’s first and largest Medical Oxygen Plant at the Star Base, Bushrod Island.
Speaking further, President George Weah applauded Liberia’s partners for collaborating with his government in supporting the country’s health sector and the people of Liberia.
The Liberian Leader described the establishment of the Oxygen Plant as an excellent and realistic collaboration between the Liberian Government with the World Health Organization (WHO) and others.
President Weah at the same time disclosed that the United States Government through USAID is also supporting the World Health Organization to establish another oxygen plant in Bomi County while at the same, he presented a roll-out plan for the establishment of eleven (11) more oxygen plants throughout Liberia.
Providing information on the current status of COVID-19 in Liberia, Liberian Health Minister Wilhelmina S. Jallah disclosed that seventy-seven (77) percent of people in Liberia have been vaccinated and Liberia ranks third in Africa in the fight against COVID-19.
Dr. Jallah also said through the Liberian Government and its partners, the country has begun to vaccinate people electronically and Liberians do not need to go outside of their country for tests of any new variant of COVID-19 vaccine cards; stressing that laboratories in the country are equipped for that matter.
Giving the overview of the Media Oxygen Plant at the ceremony, WHO Country Representative to Liberia Dr. Clement Lugala Peter said the Plant is adequate enough to supply health facilities in Montserrado and surrounding Counties.
The Liberia WHO Country Representative also revealed that the Oxygen plant will save more lives from COVID-19, other outbreaks, and emergencies as well as the lives of children dying from pneumonia.
He revealed that the oxygen plant was installed by technicians from South Africa and the team of experts from South Africa trained 20 biomedical engineers, of which four persons are based at the Star Base and will continue to provide periodic maintenance as stipulated in the agreement with WHO.
Dr. Peter said the impact of WHO’s work is measured by improvement in quality of life and better health outcomes in the communities in fulfillment of Liberian Government Pro- Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development to bring services to the communities.
He then thanked and appreciated local partners who had worked in implementing the project.
‘Mr. President, the collaboration with your government especially the Ministry of Health has been instrumental in the rehabilitation of this facility. Special thanks to the infrastructure unit, Ministry of Health for the rigorous oversight and technical guidance. Finally, the security of this facility is a priority and urgent. Thanks to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Major General Prince Johnson for extending support to this facility. Security for these assets is paramount. This is truly a collaborative work with the government and a demonstration of strong partnership with the international community including the United Nations”, WHO’s Dr. Clement Peter.
Still at the commissioning program, UN Resident Coordinator for Liberia, Niels Scott, reaffirmed his institution’s support towards Liberia’s health and security sectors.
Mr. Niels called for more collaborative efforts in serving lives from disease, threats, and sicknesses like Malaria, maternal deaths, HIV/Aids, and Tuberculosis, among others.
He also applauded President George Weah and his Government for being instrumental in the process.