MONROVIA-The Government of Japan has provided a grant to Liberia to extend emergency aid in the COVID-19 response as
well as improve the Cold Chain system in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the two projects, the Ambassador of Japan Himeno Tsutomu said health and nutrition are keys to human security and as such the people of Japan are pleased to launch the projects that will strengthen the delivery of routine health services in health facilities, communities during COVID-19 and improving cold chain management worth US$2,499,900:00.
The Ambassador pointed out that these two programs funding are part of Japan’s support to the Government of Liberia’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic through partnership with United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Amb. Tsutomu states that the projects seek to strengthen routine health services in health facilities and communities, which will be implemented by UNICEF in Montserrado and Margibi Counties and will benefit over 43,000 children and 12,000 pregnant women in over 150 communities.
“While improving the cold chain program will equip 190 health facilities with cold chain equipment and train 245 technicians and health workers to provide services for over 400,000 beneficiaries,” he pointed out.
He noted that since 2020 the Government of Japan has provided UNICEF with a total of US$ 2.7 million to support the critical delivery services to the women and children in Liberia.
The Japanese Ambassador emphasized that the Government of Japan’s main thematic priorities have remained EPI/Polio, Cold Chain system strengthening, provision of Health, WASH, Nutrition and Birth registration services to the most vulnerable population in the country.
Also speaking, the UNICEF representative to Liberia, Laila Gad said UNICEF will continue to work closely with the Government of Liberia, UN agencies and partners, to ensure the health system in the country is well equipped and health workers are well trained to respond appropriately to the threats of COVID-19.
She said with the Japanese funding, UNICEF will continue its support to the Government of Liberia in its efforts to combat COVID-19 through the provision of cold chain equipment, strengthening the health system and building the capacities of the service providers.
She intoned that the leadership the Ministry of Health has provided as enable them to reach not less than 50,000 children under 5 years to access basic health services and also in collaboration with the County
Health Teams through which “we have been able to work together to conduct an assessment of over 600 health facilities to identify what the cold chain equipment means to the country. “We hope that through continuing this partnership we will be able not to only mitigate the end of corona virus, but other health pandemic, but this will contribute to strengthening the health system in Liberia,” she added.
For her part, the Minister of Health, Dr. Willemina Jallah applauded the Japanese government for this milestone contribution, adding, “This cold chain will help us to integrate many projects in the health sector.”
“We know that this partnership will continue because COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the health sector and the delivery of essential public health services in Liberia,” Min. Jallah explained.
She stated that with a 40 percent overall decline in health facility utilization, thereby impacting access to critical services such as immunization, birth registration and nutrition, which are all provided within health facilities, and support being provided by Japan is” very timely, and will go a long way to support the ongoing COVID-19 response as well as strengthen the resilience of the health system.”