Gbarpolu County – The health team of Gbarpolu County with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has validated its county and district rapid response teams or RRTs.
Currently, there are 20 trained members of the rapid response team at the county level with the county health officer serving as team leader. Additionally, 7 persons make up the district level RRT headed by the district health officer.
These teams are obligated to provide immediate response in case of any outbreak.
The validation exercise took place during the IOM epidemic preparedness and response (EPR) plan review meeting held in Bopolu City. IOM is expected to close its project in the county on December 30, 2016.
“It is sad to tell you that with all of these activities and time spent together, we (IOM) are leaving this project with you people (CHT) to continue,” Sahr Kamara said, while hailing the community and the county health team’s surveillance department for the cordial working relationship during the period.
He said such project and NGO activities are time bond unlike government’s activities.
Kamara used the meeting to ask the people of the county to always report to local and health workers signs and symptoms of priority deceases like diarrhea, pneumonia and situation like cluster death.
“These activities were all about creating healthy environment,” added Care Giver Liberia, executive director, George Scott. Scott thanked the district surveillance and health officers for the smooth working environment created for IOM during their stay in the county.
Mr. Scott said it was from the community and local authorities’ support that kept the IOM in the county up to present.
County health officer, Dr. Anthony Tucker told the participants that the Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) plan will help direct their activity in case of outbreak.
“This is our guiding principle; we asked you to hold us by it,” Dr. Tucker stressed.
He appreciated the work of IOM in the county and assured that the county health team will maintain the gains and work the organization achieved in the county. He also encouraged county and district level RRTs to be vigilant in delivering health service.
For his part, the Mayor of Bopolu City, Hon. Lasana Sirleaf emphasized that the “Time has reached in Liberia that Liberians shall work for themselves”.
Mayor Sirleaf also recalled some of the work of IOM and how the international agency thrived in building the capacity of health workers in the county.
“I got to know about this group (IOM) the time they conducted more than three weeks training for health workers at the city hall,” Mayor Sirleaf said.
He suggested: “When people are trained and it takes long time [and there’s] no refresher, they will not response 100%. I request IOM and other partners not to forget about us (Gbarpolu health Team).”
IOM joined the County Health Team to provide some technical, logistical and capacity building support aimed at building a resilient health system in Gbarpolu County.
According to IOM’s surveillance officer in the county, the teams supported the CHT to carry out evaluation, effectively led epidemic response, and strengthen community engagements for outbreak response plans.
Since December 2015, IOM has provided training for health workers in integrated disease surveillance response, case management, ambulance crew, referral pathway and RRT revision.
Kamara’s report shows several workshops were conducted for community leaders while training aimed at testing the ability of health workers as to whether they are prepare to deal with outbreak.
For the past 11 months, the team reached 947 people, of this number, 293 were females while 647 were males.
Geographical analysis of gender disparity of people reached during IOM’s operations in the county shows that 46% of the population that directly benefited from these health activities were females while males is 54%.
Report by: Henry Gboluma