..As Part of the 2nd Anniversary of Ebola as Global Health Emergency – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – Two years ago, on August 8, 2014 the World Health Organization declared the West Africa Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
The virus destroyed the lives of more than 4,810 people in Liberia, rapidly in healthcare facilities and communities without regular access to water, good sanitation or rigorous hygiene practices.
So, on Monday, August 8, 2016, the second anniversary of the declaration of Ebola as a global health emergency, WaterAid Liberia joined WASH Stake holders and civil society organizations to call on the government of Liberia to deliver on promises made to strengthen health care systems, through the provision of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.
In a joint communiqué, the Liberian government has been urged to ensure that post Ebola Recovery for water, sanitation and hygiene be given a serious priority.
A letter was presented to government, through the Health Ministry Monday in Monrovia.
Presenting the letter to Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Francis Kateh, the Chairman of the Liberia WASH CSOs Network, Prince Kreplah said the action by the group is intended to invigorate government’s efforts to improve the health sector.
Mr. Kreplah however used the occasion to commend the government for some strives made to improve WASH in health care facilities across the country, adding that the government should exert more efforts to deliver on its Health and WASH promises.
In response, the Deputy Health Minister and Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh thanked WaterAid and WASH CSO partners for the step taken.
Dr. Kateh described the issue of Water, Sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as very crucial in the health care delivery system of the country.
He used the occasion to appeal to Liberians to seriously take their health seriously, especially regarding the issue of water and the growing level of alcohol consumption by young people.
He said alcohol consumption is posing serious health problems, resulting to the destruction of lives.
Following the presentation of the joint letter to the Health Ministry, a Press Conference was latter held to address key health and WASH issues with a focus on the 2nd anniversary of the declaration of Ebola as a global health emergency.
Reading the Statement, the Chairman of the Liberia NGOs Network, George Kayah commended the government of Liberia and development partners for steps taken to improve WASH and health care delivery.
Mr. Kayah noted that despite these efforts on the part of government, there still remain serious deficiencies in water, sanitation and hygiene in rural communities, hospitals and clinics.
He said reports show that heath care facilities still lack water, sanitation and hygiene services in the country.
The CSO group called on government to ensure that Post Ebola Recovery for WASH is given serious priority, support for a single WASH Governance System and an increase of WASH budgetary allocation.
Also making comments at the Press Conference, the WASH Coordinator at the Health Ministry, Wataku Kortima disclosed that the government of Liberia has put in place WASH protocols to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene play a key role in the health care delivery system of the country.
Mr. Kortimai pointed out that collaborative efforts are needed from CSO actors as well as Liberians to ensure that challenges affecting the health sector are resolved.
He asserted that the Health Ministry has begun the training of health care workers on WASH protocols and the essence of WASH in Health.
Speaking on behalf of the British Charity, WaterAid in Liberia, the Program Effectiveness Coordinator, Samuel Quirmolue indicated that WaterAid will continue to support the government of Liberia and local partners in the sector to improve WASH across the country.
Mr. Quirmolue noted that his entity remains committed to the process of making WASH accessible.
For her part, the Policy Officer of WaterAid, Patience Zayzay commended CSOs for taking such bold steps, reminding Government and partners about commitments to strengthen the Health delivery System of the country.
Ms Zazay revealed that WASH plays a pivotal role in the fight against the Ebola virus, and as such WASH should be taken seriously by all Liberians.
A base line report released on water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities in 2015 found out that some 95% health facilities do not meet the Ministry of Health Standards on water quantity for all purposes.
More than 50% of health facilities do not have a protected year–round source of water, and 20% do not have any protected source on site.
Hope the Government of Liberia will take seriously the call by WaterAid, CSOs and other WASH Partners and act positively to deliver on WASH Promises as Part of the 2nd Anniversary of Ebola as Global Health Emergency.