On March 17, 2020, President George Manneh Weah announced the first case of the Coronavirus (COVID- 19) in Liberia during a nationwide address.
This announcement was received with fear and anxiety by Liberians who barely six years ago struggled against another deadly virus; the Ebola virus disease or EVD, which claimed thousands of lives in Liberia and the West African sub-region.
At another major address few days after the speech on the COVID- 19, President Weah announced a state of emergency (SOE), geared towards arresting the spread of the novel virus.
In announcing the SOE On April 10, 2020, the President outlined several measures and listed institutions that were vital to the effort against the corona virus.
Among crucial institutions named by the Liberian leader to strengthen the fight against the disease was the Monrovia City Corporation, MCC.
The City Government in accepting this call to national duty with determination to eliminate this virus wasted no time in upgrading and integrating planned programs with new innovations for an adequate response to the collective fight against the Corona virus.
Before the President’s address, taking into consideration the rapid spread of the novel Corona virus around the world and despite the fact Liberia was yet to be affected, the Monrovia City Government under the Leadership of Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee embarked on series of meetings with community leaders, operators and owners of businesses functioning within the city limit amongst others educating them about the risk associated with the virus and how it can be prevented.
As City Mayors around the World was taking the lead in the fight against Corona, the Mayor of Monrovia Jefferson T. Koijee felt that Monrovia as a City was no exception and that he and his team needed to take a decisive lead, noting that the city will eventually, become a hot spot due to the growing population in the city.
Being knowledgeable of the fact that Monrovia as a Capital City has a population of approximately 1.2 million people and the health of its inhabitants remain paramount to the City Government, the City authority decided to invest its limited resources in preparation to prevent the virus.
The City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee at one of his meetings with communities called for a participatory approach in combating an unforeseen enemy “the Corona virus”.
Juli Endee, Liberia’s Culture Ambassador and Executive Director of the Liberia Crusaders’ for Peace (LCP) positively responded to this patriotic call to duty by Mayor Koijee by partnering with the City Government to fight the corona virus.
MCC along with its implementing Partner the Liberia Crusaders’ for Peace were swift in collaborating with various communities and a major stake holders to hire and train approximately 1600 communicators, mobilizers, and supervisors who are currently proving highly worthy in the ongoing effort to eliminate the virus in Liberia.
Those communicators, mobilizers, as well as supervisors, were trained by technicians of the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
The communicators and mobilizers are deployed in the communities educating community dwellers about the risk associated with the corona virus and how it can be prevented.
They include Township Community Commissioners, City Mayors of surrounding Towns, the Governor of the Borough of New Kru Town , Community leaders, the Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY), Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), the Christian and Muslim communities, the Disabled community, Albino Society, Disadvantage youth, several organizations and institutions amongst others.
The City Government of Monrovia has also instituted a technical committee on COVID- 19, with the the goal of promoting proper sanitation and hygiene, as well as tracking MCC COVID- 19, response activities and progress among others.
Consistent with the entity’s decision to play a pivotal role in the national effort to defeat the Corona virus, the Corporation has adopted a vigorous approach towards improved sanitation throughout the city of Monrovia and its environs; an after hour new work strategy designed by the MCC encompasses waste removal, drainage clearing, community engagement and distribution of assorted materials such as shovels, wheel barrows, buckets and sanitizers in various communities in Monrovia and beyond the city limit.
This strategy allows the MCC team to be the in various communities every Friday, Saturday and Sunday fumigating market and public places including streets as well as cleaning drainages and garbage all gear towards enhancing the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
Today, West Point, Duala, Stephen Tolbert Estate, Barnesville Estate, Clara Town, Central Monrovia, Logan Town, Vai Town, Old Road, Congo Town, Dry Rice Market, and many other communities have been impacted by this initiative.
The recent distribution of rice, buckets and sanitizers to residents of Todee in Monserrado County which is an initiative by President George M. Weah is indicative of the significant impact the MCC along with other partners is making in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
In Todee, we visited over fifteen towns and villages educating the people about the virus and its prevention. We told them to watch their hands frequently, we told them to observe social distancing, we told them to wear facemasks and above all, we told that the corona is real and we need to fight it collectively.
In this Corona fight, the City Government has managed to decongest the densely populated commercial environment of Waterside which many including critics of the City Government believe is a laudable initiative that should be appreciated by every Liberian with a call for proper maintenance. We demolished the makeshift market structures along the main road down waterside to create a free space for commuters and prevent huge traffic congestion. We also stopped the sale of goods along the main routes by petty traders and appeal to store owners to give the city a faced-lift by painting their business places with our national colour red, white and blue.
Additionally, the City Government cleaned the drainages down waterside and deployed City Police officers to ensure its maintenance. People now freely pass Waterside without holding their noises.
The Monrovia City Police are working along with the Joint Security to enforce the State of Emergency announced by President of the Republic of Liberia in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Our officers can be seen in communities and at check-points within the city limit of Monrovia enforcing the SOE.
The City Government of Monrovia leading the fight against the novel Corona virus within its city limit like other cities around the world collaborated with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia to recruit and train over 6000- active case finders.
Giving the fact that there is a higher risk of infection and the special protection it requires to do active case finding, NPHIL and MCC decided to work with 6000- active case finders each to cover 20 houses a day to check for the sick and provide awareness messages every day for the next three months.
The role of the Monrovia City Corporation in the drive to defeat COVID- 19 cannot be limited to the above-mentioned undertakings. The City Government along with its implementing partner, the Liberia Crusaders for Peace recently turned over a new COVID-19 specimen centre to the Executive Committee on COVID -19 headed by Madam Mary Broh at the William V.S.Tubman High School on 12th Street, Sinkor, G.W Gibson High School, Monrovia Liberia.
We are also working with the Executive Committee on COVID 19 along with international partners including the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and create several specimen centres within the City Limit of Monrovia.
MCC and its implementing partner, the Liberia Crusaders’ for Peace also collaborated with the Liberia Musician Union to produce an awareness song( A Song of Hope on Corona virus ) featuring the President of the Republic of Liberia and several highly rated Liberian Musicians including Ambassador Juli Endee, Deng, Takun- J, Semah G. Weefur, MC Caro, Abigail Vinto, Sundaygar Dearboy , Boifatty, Teddyride , Mr. Parbai , Angie Tonton, Chiller Coornane , Justin Flomo, Nasseman , J. B D’ General , Kobazzie , Sayon Mayson , J.Cole, Sammy Gray Gboguy, A.B. Siafah Kromah and others . The song highlights the importance of personal hygiene in the fight against the disease, social distancing and many others.
The Monrovia City Government is also collaborating with the Liberia National Tailors Union for the production of 1.2 Million locally made face-masks for distribution to inhabitants of the City of Monrovia.
The production and subsequent distribution of locally made face- masks are in accordance with a call by President George M. Weah making the wearing of face-masks compulsory.
It’s a difficult moment for Liberia and the World at large. We are almost at the peak stage in of this virus Liberia according to expert. Corona virus pandemic which is affecting thousands and killing hundreds around the world while the world’s economy continues to experience free fall. The City Government never sleeps and we continue to strategize in line with health authorities as we work to ensure that the virus does not spread further. We will go through this and in the end, defeat corona like the case of Ebola. Let’s continue to follow the preventive measures prescribe by the health authority and together, we can fight against corona virus.
Let’s stay home and keep safe