WaterAid Liberia, in partnership with WASH Stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has called on the government to strengthen the health care system through the provision of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.The group made the call on Monday, August 8, in a joint communiqué addressed to the Ministry of Health. They want the government to give post-Ebola recovery for water, sanitation and hygiene the highest priority.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 urge government to improve the health sector.Kreplah, however, commend the government for strides made to improve WASH in health care facilities across the country, adding that the government should exert more effort to deliver on its health and WASH promises.In response, Deputy Health Minister Kateh thanked WaterAid and WASH’s CSO partners for their continued work, and agreed that the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are crucial to the health care delivery system of the country.Dr. Kateh, who is also the nation’s Chief Medical Officer, appealed to Liberians to take their health seriously, especially when it involves water.Following the presentation of the letter to the Health Ministry, a press conference was held to address key health and WASH issues.The Chairman of the Liberia NGOs Network, George Kayah, commended the government and development partners for steps taken to improve WASH and health care delivery but noted that despite these efforts there still remain serious deficiencies in water, sanitation and hygiene in rural communities, hospitals and clinics.WASH Coordinator at the Health Ministry, Wataku Kortima, disclosed that the government has put in place WASH protocols to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene play a key role in the country’s health care delivery system.He urged collaborative efforts among CSO actors as well as Liberians to ensure that challenges affecting the health sector are resolved. The Health Ministry has started the training of health care workers on WASH protocols and the essence of WASH in health, he added.Speaking on behalf of the British Charity WaterAid in Liberia, Program Effectiveness Coordinator Samuel Quirmolue indicated that WaterAid will continue to support the government and local partners in the sector to improve WASH and make it accessible.Meanwhile, a baseline report released on water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities in 2015 found out that about 95 percent of health care facilities do not meet the Ministry of Health’s standards on water quantity for all purposes.More than 50 percent of health facilities do not have a protected year–round source of water, and 20 percent do not have any protected source on site.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Venezuelan refugeesCitizenship Minister Winston Felix has announced that a plot of land in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) has been identified for the establishment of a homestead settlement area or a humanitarian centre for registered Venezuelans who have fled to Guyana.According to the Minister, the land has been identified as a result of a collaborative effort of the Mayor and Town Council of Mabaruma and the Citizenship Ministry. The decision was taken during a multi-agency coordinating committee meeting on Tuesday.Felix said the resettlement area was currently privately owned and that the Government would now initiate efforts to determine what arrangements could be put in place to acquire the land for the establishment of the centre.The Ministry of the Presidency, in a statement, said that while this process was being undertaken, Felix has tasked the regional administration to set up aCitizenship Minister Winston Felix along with officials of the multi-agency coordinating committeeRegional Coordinating Sub-Committee, which could take charge of the situation on the ground even as the agencies on the national committee continue to lend the necessary assistance to those in the region. The Public Health Ministry has since established health posts in the outlined areas, including at Mabaruma and Morawhanna, and is expected to establish yet another outpost at Imbotero Village by the end of this week at which migrants and residents would be screened and vaccinated. Additionally, the Ministry would be bolstering its presence in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). Refrigerators for the storage of vaccines at the locations have already been procured and would be dispatched and set up by the end of next week.Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has committed its support to addressing the migration of Venezuelans and to help boost Guyana’s capacity to deal with such situations in the event of future occurrences.The IOM is currently conducting work in gathering data on the migrants, and has observed trends through a Displacement Tracking Matrix in Regions One (Barima-Waini); Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Following calls by Region One Chairman Brentnol Ashley for Government and donor agencies to provide more assistance to Venezuelan refugees, the Administration on August 6 signalled its intention to construct several facilities to respond to the Venezuelan influx. This was announced by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at his post-Cabinet briefing. A number of local businesses and Guyanese have provided food and clothing to the refugees.Venezuelan refugees mainly from the Warrau tribe have been fleeing the economic and political turmoil in the Spanish-speaking country.According to information provided, there are over 600 refugees in Region One.