By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The Liberia Medicine and Health Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) has joined in the fight to relieve the country of the Ebola virus by taking the ongoing awareness campaign to pharmacists and dispensers across the country.
In a discussion with some members of the media yesterday, the Executive Director of the LMHRA, David Sumo, said reports have reached the Authority that most people who fear going to the hospital because they will be quarantined for suspected minor symptoms are using the pharmacies and drug stores as their alternatives.
Mr. Sumo said the Ebola virus is a current national medical emergency which is everybody’s business therefore the Authority can not sit back and allow the means of transmitting the virus spread to another sector when it is within their purview to regulate those alternatives, noting that customers will have to interact with the dispensers during transaction and they too must be protected.
He said the dispensers need to be educated on taking keen note of the normal precautionary measures already provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and try not to manage cases beyond their expertise, adding that dispensers and pharmacists should always have room for referral.
The LMHRA boss reiterated that the Authority’s strategy is to sustain the ongoing awareness at the various pharmacies especially in communities where there is reported outbreak of the virus so as to help raid Ebola out of the country.
Meanwhile, the LMHRA has announced that it has placed Liberia first at the Inter Laboratory Testing (ILT) Center by being rated the best performing country this year after submitting the best result from the sampling of drugs gathered in its quality laboratory.
Mr. Sumo said Liberia has been participating in the international process for two years now and the sample of drugs this year was among 17 countries with an instruction to send findings from each country’s laboratory facility to the Center.
He recalled that last year, with Liberia being new in the process, it emerged with the highest score along with Ethiopia. However, he said there are still major challenges despite the strides made by the LMHRA both nationally and internationally.
Mr. Sumo explained that the Authority has been blessed with qualified individuals whose services are exceptional but the budget to commensurate with the labor is too low to even maintain the technicians and strengthen the human resource capacity.
He therefore called on the government to consider a review of the LMHRA’s annual budget and alleviated the Authority from its financial constraints as it pledges to do its best to keep Liberians as well as other residents safe and healthy.