MONROVIA-With barley twenty four hours after statement made by the political leader of the Alternative National Congress(ANC), Alexander B. Cummings that he was prepared to provide his help in fighting the deadly COVID pandemic, president George Weah has accepted his offer.
The president also commended the ANC leader for such offer saying this is what a good citizen should do. Over the past years, president Weah has said that his administration was prepared to work with opposition politicians provided their work was in the interest of the state,
Recently, the ANC Political Leader said he was ready with the Weah government in joining ranks with the regime to collaboratively fight the disease.
Cummings’s preparedness to help has begun to manifest through his engagements and discussions with international partners about the deteriorating health situation in Liberia. He is said to currently be in the United States, soliciting help to alleviate the tension in the health sector.
In addition to that, Cummings made a number of recommendations to the Weah administration; recast the budget to provide funding for the purchase of beds, PPEs, masks, vaccines, ventilators, oxygen and massive awareness; solicit additional support from Liberians in the diaspora and the donor community; increase the hazard pay of existing health workers and employ more health workers an contact tracers; immediately close all schools and ensure the completion of the semester from home, pending the end of the crisis; work with community leaders and community-based organizations to create awareness and help with enforcement of GOL new regulations instead of the use of paramilitary forces; set up a hotline where people who have families or friends with severe symptoms of COVID-19 can call for help and be linked to the nearest isolation or health center.
“I offer to work with the government in whatever way I reasonably can to help us out of this situation. The Cummings Africa Foundation is open to working with authorities of the Ministry of Health to identify some of the urgent gaps in the national response that we can make some quick interventions to,” Cummings’ statement entailed.
The president made the statement this week In an exclusive interview with media institutions.
“The coronavirus is no joke…Liberians are losing their lives every day to the plague. During a national crisis of this nature and magnitude, all hands of good citizens, void of political affiliation, are required on deck,” President Weah said.
According to president Weah, this is what good citizens should do. He said, he did similar thing during the EBOLA crisis. That, he worked with the Unity Party (UP) government to fight against the virus; not because of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but because he was a good citizen who wanted to help save his country.
So, Cummings’ help, if it comes without any political undertone, it will go a long way in beefing up the health sector and finding a remedy to the unanticipated health crisis.
With respect to the dismissal of the Deputy Minister for Public Affairs, Eugene L. Fahngon, at the Ministry of Information, President Weah said it was disappointing to see an official of government providing false and misleading information to the public at a time everyone is looking up to the government for credible information and workable solutions relative to the survival of them and their families.
According to him, the information provided by the dismissed Deputy Minister was false and misleading. That, Fahngon had no authority to speak on the health matters, and as a member of the Executive, he was not well informed of the situation.
It can be recalled that, in a Facebook live video on the topic, “Legacy on the Brink…COVID-19 Variant”, Deputy Minister Fahngon alleged that the measures put in place to curtail the third variant of the virus are immaterial, and that the legacy of the President relative to the fight against the deadly virus was on the brink of annihilation.
Deputy Minister Fahngon continued that the AstraZeneca, the vaccine being used in Liberia to fight the virus, is associated with side effects, and recommended that the citizenry not take the dose. According to him, he got sick when he took the first dose of the vaccine.
“The Chinese government has expressed willingness to supply Liberia with a consignment of its own COVID-19 vaccine, but there are politics interplaying, something that might be catastrophic in the end. Everything in this country is politics, even when it involves lives. There are many others, including some top government officials, playing politics with this vaccine thing and it may cost us terribly,” Fahngon claimed.
President Weah informed the media that two health committees have already been established to carry out specific functions: Sparkle and Incident Management System (IMS), and that he heads all the two committees.
The Incident Management System (IMS) is the technical and operational arm of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 response, and is made up of only health experts and partners. For Sparkle, it is made up of experts, government officials and partners, and is responsible to assess the workings and review the activities of the IMS and solicit resources from foreign governments and partners for the response.
However, President Weah disclosed that at no point in time did Deputy Minister Fahngon sit with him, as head of the two teams, to ascertain the facts, neither did he do so with the Minister of Health, emphasizing that the Minister of Health is the only person clothed with the full responsibility to inform the public on health matters and the state of the health sector.
Meanwhile, President Weah has commended the public for following the health measures put in place by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL), and urged everyone to continue abiding by these protocols to prevail over the virus. He said the fight against the virus requires all hands on deck and the collaborative effort of every citizen, irrespective of creed, religion or political affiliation.
He extended heartfelt appreciation to the nurses, doctors, physicians, physician assistants, midwives, contact tracers, administrators and everyone playing a role in the health sector, commending their effort and their gallant work of volunteering for Mama Liberia.