In a move to provide better and quality services in the health and WASH sectors of Liberia, the Government through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Commission will this Friday November 15, 2019 opened a modern Central Environmental Health Lab in the Country.
The lab among other things will help ensure quality food and water testing in Liberia.
The initiative according to the Chairman of the WASH Commission Bobby Whitfield is to protect both the producers and consuming public respectively.
Mr. Whitfield speaking to reporters Wednesday commended his Swedish partners for providing WASH-Regulation training to his staff which he noted is an added boost to the Commission.
As part of their regulatory role, Mr. Whitfield stressed that they will embarked on a robust enforcement exercise targeting direct water producers as well as food sellers at restaurants and cook shops respectively to ensure that what they produce and sell to the consuming public is safe for adequate consumption.
“We will work harder with our limited team to make sure Bathrooms and toilets are decent and should serve its purpose of restrooms and not rush-rooms”, he pointed out.
At the same time, he lauded the efforts of national government for showing a strong political -will to see the operations of the commission.
“Currently we have a budget of about $700.00usd, it is not much but a good start”, he added.
He told reporters that his recent international trip is now showing gradual positive signs of improvement for the commission.
However, he pointed out that there is a need to double up in its current engagement noting that they will need about 155m if they should achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 6, 6.1 and 6.2 over the next ten years respectively.
Disclosing further, he intimated that there is a serious shortfall over the years in the tune of 44m which needs to be closed, this he attributed to the slow progress in the sector.
He said there is about 76% national water coverage so far with about 4% of the Nation’s population only connected to pipe borne water, something he said needs to be addressed soon.
In order for international partners to meet the commission half-way in achieving its national and international goals respectively, the WASH boss wants about 2.2m annually in its national budget, this he said, he is confident it will work with the already strong political-will demonstrated by President George Weah including members of the legislative caucus who are key champions for the establishment and success of the commission.
Mr. Whitfield is at the same time is encouraging residents in Liberia to try keep their communities clean to help prevent open defecation as next Tuesday, November 19, 2019 will be another international observance of world toilet day.
The day is set aside to create massive awareness about the danger of unclean environment and the befits it brings to among other things have a clean community.