By Jana-Astrid Schäfer and Fatoumata Njei |
GENEVA, May 20, 2020 – At a recent meeting about Liberia’s COVID-19 Incidence Management System, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the immediate removal of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) from the country’s COVID-19 Response, because the MCC has no function in healthcare and no experience in outbreak or pandemic response.
This stance of the WHO and donors vindicates the infectious diseases expert, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan who came under barrage of attacks in April from the Monrovia City Mayor and several Liberian government ministers for his professional expert advice against the involvement of the MCC, a non-medical entity, in the COVID-19 response. The award-winning inventor, Dr. Nyan, advised that the “COVID-19 response be conducted by knowledgeable and skilled professionals with public health transparency and accountability.”
According to sources attending the meeting the, “stakeholders will release no more funds to the Liberian government’s COVID-19 Programme unless the MCC is completely removed from the pandemic response.”
In a dispatch carried by the local media last month, the prominent Liberian infectious disease scientist, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, warned against “the interference of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) in the work of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) as the country fights the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The NPHIL is Liberia’s equivalence of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), while the MCC is in charge of municipal ordnances and garbage collection in the city of Monrovia and its environs. Neither the MCC nor the NPHIL was willing to comment on the emerging developments.
In early April of this year, the MCC and the NPHIL Director Dr. Mosoka Fallah’s personal NGO, the Refuge Place International (RFI) reportedly “recruited and trained 6,000 non-public health contact tracers” for the COVID-19 response, thereby sidelining almost 3000 already-existing contact tracers, active case finders, and health data analysts who were trained during the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014. Many observers saw the involvement of Dr. Fallah’s personal NGO as a conflict of interest which he has since refuted.
Dr. Nyan stated in April stated that, “the MCC is not a healthcare entity and should not be involved in training or organizing contact tracers during this pandemic, a serious national security health threat that requires expert knowledge of medical doctors, scientists, epidemiologist and other healthcare workers.”
As reported by a local daily, during a recent meeting of stakeholders, the WHO and donors expressed their unhappiness with the MCC’s participation in the COVID-19 response. The WHO and donors further lamented that the MCC has no authority and function in this and that the present crisis is a health emergency that must be conducted by healthcare authorities with expert knowledge.
As of today, May 20, 2020 the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports that Liberia has 233 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23 deaths, thereby resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.8% which exceeds that of its regional neighbours and the global CFR. Liberia has a fragile health system, less testing capability, and shortage of COVID-19 testing kits. A recent recast national budget of the country shows a drastic reduction in allocation for healthcare by about $10 million dollars in the middle of a health crisis.
Meanwhile, since January this year, Dr. Nyan, an NIH-trained infectious disease expert and inventor, offered his expertise and volunteered to develop Liberia’s COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits at no cost. But, the government of Liberia has yet to respond to his offer since the Coronavirus-CoV-2 since four months ago.
Dr. Nyan has since worked in East Africa with Ethiopia and Rwanda taking interest in his invention. He continues to conduct series of COVID-19 Pandemic Public Health Awareness via TV and radio as well as advised the Liberian government on locking down the country, stopping the unnecessary testing of dead bodies for COVID-19, wearing of face mask, contact tracing and mass testing and other regulations. Dr. Nyan is the world acclaimed inventor of the Nyan-Test, a rapid multiplex diagnostic test for many infections including Coronaviruses, HIV, Ebola, Hepatitis viruses and many more infections. It is a US patented test that rapidly detects and identifies multiple infections in less than an hour.