The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Representative to Liberia, Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, is calling on government and international partners to focus on improving and investing in the Agriculture sector for job creation and self-reliance.Briefing the media Tuesday, May 27, on the FAO’s national priorities and the important role of Agriculture including rural development, employment, youth support, food security and poverty reduction, Mr. Scaglia said it is important for government to use Agriculture for development.According to the FAO Country Representative, food insecurity and malnutrition was a serious problem for the country, especially the rural areas of Nimba, Maryland and Grand Kru Counties. He further explained that the government of Liberia, national and international partners have not been focusing on investing both financial and technical support that will shift and improve the agriculture sector and the lives of the Liberian people. “Let us use half of the two hundred million dollars that we spend on importation of food in Liberia for agriculture for two to three years for farming and technical as well as capacity building and Liberia will have more food and reduce importation throughout country. Mr. Scaglia insisted that there is a need for the agriculture sector to have huge investment that will create food security, capacity building for farmers, and reduce vulnerable employment for the youthful population that is over 55%. Greater investment in agriculture will also reduce malnutrition.Stating the statistics of food insecurity in Liberia, Mr. Scaglia described as worrisome Lofa’s 61.3% food insecurity, Bong’s 64.6%, Sinoe’s 65.1%, Grand Bassa’s 60.8%, Cape Mount’s 78.8%, rural Montserrado’s 67%, Nimba 41.5%, and Margibi 63.2% among others.”According to the FAO Country Representative, malnutrition has risen to 80% in the country, most especially in the rural areas and poses a serious threat to the health sector of the people. He called on the government as well as the partners to ensure that malnutrition is urgently addressed.Mr. Scaglia: “If there is no decision now to create jobs in the agriculture sector and invest more in food security, there will be serious problems for the country in driving hungry from Liberia. The government needs to take advantage of the present population to improve and address the issues of food insecurity,” he warned.According to him, agriculture is the best job for the vulnerable unemployment youth in the country, which would also stop the importation of over 50% of food. Liberians are capable of producing their own food, including fishery, he said.The FAO Representative explained that for Liberia to make progress in improving the lives of its people and creating job,“ the government needs the right information, capacity building, financial and technical knowledge that will support self reliance and better living conditions.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Public Health Ministry and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) is expected to finalise the essential medicine list for Guyana during an ongoing three-day meeting with stakeholders at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.PAHO/WHO Representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-KrowThe medicine list is updated every 2-3 years via a lengthy process through a pharmaceutical team with the aid of a standard treatment guideline developed by the Public Health Ministry or in some instances, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).The list is then supplied to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry’s annual budget, as that being recommended for the Government to procure and make available for patients’ use.Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud explained that every year, newer and more effective agents are added and those that were found to be ineffective are removed.“Each year we add the newer and more effective agents but we also remove medicines that we find are ineffective that they might be for resistance developed against some form of antibiotic and we have done that or that a drug have found not to be as effective as we did in the past,” Persaud noted.Persaud further added that the list contains generic items which have been recommended globally by the World Health Organisation.A section of the gathering“The medicines are in their true form, they are also categorised by strength and by the preparation type whether it is liquids or tablets, capsules, topical application so there might be one pharmaceutical agent but they might be available in 5-6 different forms so it’s quite a long list but we are trying to keep the items generic, that means that we look at the pharmaceutical active component and we recommend the generic items which WHO have been recommending globally rather than to go for brand.”In his remarks, PAHO/WHO representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-Krow noted that essential medicines are critical to the functioning of any health system, especially in Guyana.Dr Adu-Krow further deemed the list as being among things that are of national priority.“Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times, in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms with assured quality and adequate information and at a price that the individual and the community can afford” the PAHO/WHO representative added.Dr Adu-Krow added that “The implementation of the concept of essential medicines is intended to be flexible and adaptable to many different situations exactly which medicines are regarded as essential remains a national responsibility”.Regional advisers and consultants of WHO are currently leading the discussion in the finalisation of the Essential Medicine List. Regional health officers of the administrative regions, pharmacists, doctors and staff of the Material Management Unit and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation are among those participating in the three-day meeting.