Civil servants have resumed work after a two-week strike action for payment of the 17-month salary arrears owed by the Government. The strike action adversely affected the routine operations of the civil service during the period of the strike. The Civil Servants Association agreed to return to work after Government agreed to start payment of the salary arrears in July 2005.
In an official press release on 8 July 2005 by the Office of Public Affairs in the US Embassy, the US Government has supported Liberia's Economic Governance Action Plan (LEGAP). The press release emphasized that LEGAP will enable Liberia to regain its economic sovereignty through responsible control of its economic affairs. The US Government clarified that the Economic Action Plan is not a trusteeship, nor does it diminish the country's sovereignty. LEGAP will strengthen accountability, transparency and capacity building.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced that nomination of candidates for the ensuing presidential and general elections by registered political parties and independent candidates commenced on 21 July 2005. The nomination process is due to end at 5:00 pm. on 06 August 2005.
The Director of USAID/Liberia has disclosed that the organization has earmarked US$10m to strengthen the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the conduct of the 2005 presidential and legislative elections. According to the USAID Director, the funds will help to jump-start developmental assistance to NEC for the full implementation of the electoral process, and to return the country to the democratic table.
B. IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMMES OF TECHNICAL COOPERATION
1. Establishment of Emergency Obstetric Care Units in Five Health Facilities in Lofa County
In collaboration with MOH and UNFPA, WHO has initiated the first of three planned activities for the implementation of Emergency Obstetric Care in the country. The establishment of the emergency obstetric care units will be followed by training of health care providers per facility, and the monitoring and supervision of the services. UNFPA and WHO have provided the drugs, supplies and equipment. The objectives of the activity are to establish improved basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care units in selected health facilities in Lofa County; and to improve the capacity of the selected health facilities in the delivery of quality emergency obstetric care in Lofa County. Three medical doctors, including one obstetrician/gynecologist and two public health specialists are participating in the activity. The establishment of these units will provide three hospitals with the requisite equipment, drugs and supplies for the delivery of quality comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Moreover, two health centres will have the requisite equipment, drugs and supplies for basic emergency obstetric care. The health sector NGOs in Lofa County, the County Health Team, and the staff of selected health facilities are participating in the activity.
2. Rapid Desk Analysis of Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses(IMCI)
A WHO external consultant facilitated Rapid Desk Analysis of IMCI from 04 to 07 July 2005 when participants from WHO, UNICEF, International Medical Corps (IMC), MOH, Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA), Mother Patern College of Health Sciences (MPCHS), and A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine took part in the consultations to assess the progress and gaps for IMCI, and also make recommendations for the implementation of IMCI in Liberia. At the end of the consultations, the participants recommended a second visit of the consultant to lead the implementation of:
- One national orientation meeting as soon as possible;
- One adaptation meeting as soon as possible;
- Early implementation of IMCI in 2006.
It was also recommended that community action for IMCI should be established alongside the national activities.
3. EPI/IDSR Data Management Training
A 5-day data management training workshop on Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) was conducted from 11 to 16 July 2005 in the WHO Conference Room. The training was organized by the WHO Country Office and facilitated by the Data Manager of the Inter-Country Team based in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. The training sessions focused on the new data management software for routine immunization, case-based surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases and IDSR. Data entry, data analysis and data processing for transmission to block and regional offices were introduced by usingEPI Info., MapInfo, etc. Participants included staff members of WHO, UNICEF and MOH. It is expected that the skills acquired from this training workshop will make the participants more efficient in the management of data for immunization, surveillance and IDSR, and consequently improve the national health care delivery system.