In Liberia, from 3 rd January 2020 to 16th July 2021, there have been 5,306 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 148 deaths, as reported by the World Health Organization. Liberia has administered at least 95,423 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that is enough to have vaccinated about 1% of the country’s population. Liberia is reporting 43 new infections on average each day, expressing a 23% peak — with the highest daily average reported on July 8th 2021.
In Liberia, there is a misconception that traditional herbs will prevent/cure one from COVID-19 especially among the rural dwellers. As a result, there is apathy to seek much-needed medical attention in hospitals when symptoms persist.
Unfortunately, this situation is exacerbated as hospitals have been turning away patients due to their lack of medication. Also, there is a need to support proper diet to expedite the recovery of patients. ACT Liberia Forum is planning to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable through an appeal. Unfortunately, two major referral health facilities are experiencing acute shortages of basic medical supplies needed to prevent and support treatment of COVID-19.
Currently in the two major referral health facilities in Liberia, the demand exceeds the supply of medicine to treat those affected by COVID-19 due to insufficient funds to support the purchase of medicine unlike in other African countries. This is likely to cause a significant negative impact on patient care and a risk to increased adverse outcome to patients like an increased death rate and the likely spread of COVID-19.
Support to Health Institutions (Phebe and Curran Lutheran Hospitals):
To support patients at the emergency room at Curran Hospital, keep within the required protocols, there is a need to support the expansion of the maternal waiting room as one of the main aims of control measures is to reduce respiratory pathogen transmission through direct contact with others. This expansion is prioritized by the hospital administration as a measure to prevent further spread of the disease.
The risks of getting COVID-19 are higher in crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods of time together in proximity. These environments are where the virus appears to spread by respiratory droplets or aerosols more efficiently, so taking precautions is even more important.
This is the situation at the Emergency room at Phebe Lutheran Hospital, which is now not able to support critical patients, but due to overcrowding. The emergency room is now filled with non-emergency patients’ cases, and this is not only putting medical workers at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 but is not allowing medical personnel to give emergency critical cases the attention required.
The two community health centerslocated in densely populated areas were introduced by the government to enable hospital services and to improve in their services of complex or critical cases and to act as referrals.
One way to resolve the crowding at the major hospitals is to support the two community health centers located in densely populated areas to treat referral cases, by providing these facilities need with potable water system to enable them to function under better hygienic conditions.
Other needs among the population are the dire need for safe drinking water and bathroom facilities. Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most cost-effective strategies for increasing pandemic preparedness, especially in resource-constrained settings, is investing in core public health infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems. This proposal aims in supporting vulnerable population groups access safe drinking water and bathroom facilities and improve training and awareness on hygiene practices that would overall lead to reduced spread of COVID-19. Training and awareness are needed to increase knowledge about good hygiene practices to minimize the chance of deadly diseases like COVID-19 spreading amongst the population and their communities.