The Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, (NPHIL), Tolbert G. Nyenswah, has encouraged Liberians to showcase with pride the nation’s positive contribution to global health security, citing that evidenced-based policies and decisions based on science and technology are critical for societal growth.
Nyenswah said the recent Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa highlighted the need for the establishment of a public health institute in Liberia, which supports national health delivery services.
According to him, with the plan to revitalize health services in the country, it was essential for the Government of Liberia to establish the NPHIL.
Nyenswah was speaking in Monrovia on Monday at the start of the 2nd Emmet Dennis National Science Conference being held under the theme: “Strengthening Global Health Security- the Liberian Experience.”
The Emmet A. Dennis National Scientific Conference is an annual event to showcase local capacity for public health research and practice. It also features outstanding international researchers.
Dr. Dennis is a renowned scientist and former president of the University of Liberia. He is also the founder of the Liberia Institute of Biomedical Research.
The conference, which is expected to conclude on Thursday, August 29, encapsulates sub-themes, including: One Health, Neglected Tropical Diseases; Non-zoonotic infectious diseases; Non-communicable diseases; social science; health research and Health systems research.
“Liberia attracted global focus during the Ebola virus disease outbreak of 2014/2015,” Nyenswah told delegates attending the conference.
“As a country, through the resilience of our people and with the assistance of international partners, we have come a long way from the state of affairs prevailing then,” he noted.
Nyenswah disclosed that in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, NPHIL strengthens existing infection prevention and control efforts, laboratories, surveillance, infectious disease control, public health capacity-building, response to outbreaks, and monitoring of disease with epidemic potential.
He said a partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccine In Liberia (PREVAIL) was also setup during the Ebola crisis, and its state-of-the-art research today have gotten over 20,000 people inoculated in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the vaccine that was developed in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other nations.
Nyenswah wants emerging Liberian scientists to follow the footsteps of Dr. Dennis and other doctors who have served Liberia in terms of research in their little capacity in other to move the next generation of researchers to another level.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dennis, who was earlier honored at the occasion, applauded the NPHIL for taking on a unique role in Liberia.
He said the nation has been longing for research programs and initiatives, such program is not only available now, but the nation’s health sector can now be reformed by research.
Dr. Dennis noted that “Research for Development must be a national agenda.”
He observed that the theme of the second conference, “Strengthening Global Health Security-The Liberian Experience,” stresses the need for collaborative efforts for irreversible achievement of health security.
Research infrastructure of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Liberia, as well as PREVAIL and others with a similar model, demonstrate the possible achievement of research sustainability in Liberia.
Dr. Dennis also stated that the value of the conference and other conferences as such, help to fulfill an obligation and responsibility of university and collage faculties.
“I am indeed very pleased and grateful that these necessary annual scientific conferences, named in my honor are not post-mortem,” he stated