MONROVIA: On Monday, November 7, 2022, a U.S. Government delegation arrived in Monrovia to learn firsthand about Liberia’s achievements in the fight against COVID-19, including being among the first three African countries to achieve the WHO goal of vaccinating 70% of its population against the disease.
The delegation is led by Beth Tritter, Executive Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) COVID-19 Response Team and Dr. David Fitter, Acting Lead for the Global COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Chris Runyan, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID Africa Bureau; and Robert Pulwer, Country Support/Rapid Response Senior Advisor, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
The delegation was formally welcomed by officials at the U.S. Embassy, including Deputy Chief of Mission Joel Maybury, USAID Liberia Mission Director Jim Wright, and the CDC Country Director for Liberia, Dr. Rachel Idowu. They also met with representatives of the Peace Corps and the National Institutes of Health in Monrovia.
They later visited the General Services Agency (GSA), one of the largest COVID-19 vaccination sites in the country, where they met with the GSA Director General, Madam Mary Broh. Broh, who is also the National Coordinator for Liberia’s COVID-19 Response, thanked USAID, CDC, and other donors for supporting Liberia’s COVID response efforts. She added that about 170,000 people have been vaccinated at the GSA, noting that lessons learned from the fight against the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, including the use of local voices in prevention and treatment messaging, have been useful in combating COVID-19.
The delegation also met with the Montserrado County Health Team in Monrovia. The head of Liberia’s Immunization Program Dr. Adolphus Clarke briefed them on successful COVID-19 interventions in Montserrado, including community-based awareness campaigns to combat vaccine hesitancy. Executive Director Tritter said she and other members of her delegation were delighted to be in Liberia to learn for themselves how the country with the support of development partners mounted a strong campaign against COVID-19. She congratulated Liberia for being a leader in achieving the WHO target of vaccinating 70% of its population against COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Tritter and other members of the delegation will join Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, representatives of the World Health Organization, and other donor partners to open a new oxygen production plant in Bomi County, Western region of Liberia. The plant, established with support from USAID, will provide life-saving medical oxygen for people in the western region of Liberia. It is the second oxygen production plant established with USAID support in Liberia. On October 27, President George Weah opened an oxygen plant on Bushrod Island in Monrovia, built with funding from the German, Canadian and U.S. Government. That plant will serve the people of Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Following the opening of the Bomi Oxygen Plant on Tuesday, the delegation will participate in a COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday at Lango Lippaye High School in Kakata, Margibi County.