Speaking at a one-day consultative engagement between Liberian journalists and the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM) at the weekend, Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah,
The engagement, which was made possible through support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund Partnership, basically focused on expanding media engagement with major focus on HIV, TB, Malaria and COVID.
According to Minister Jallah, media engagement is of critical importance as the media remains a key partner in public health.
“As we all know we could have never come this far in our fight against HIV, TB malaria and COVID if the media had not played its part in transmitting the necessary information for the public consumption. The media played a pivotal role in disseminating the necessary information that the public used to know about HIV, TB Malaria and COVID,” said Minister Jallah.
She noted that it is through the media that the public gets to know the causes of HIV, TB and Malaria and as such, the media should be considered partner in the health sector.
“Through the media the public knows how to prevent HIV, TB, Malaria, and we were able to minimize the spread of COVID. As of December 2021, we have 19,855 adults on treatment among all adults living with HIV. For TB, we have notified 7,445 cases of all forms of TB with a 99% treatment success rate and 95% of suspected malaria cases receiving parasitological test at public health facilities. For COVID, we were able to increase testing and roll out vaccination thereby drastically reducing community spread,” the Minister recounted.
Despite these successes in the health sector, Minister Jallah believes that expanding engagement with the media and utilizing the media in all its forms would bring us greater success than what the country has now.
“For example, expanding HIV testing and treatment, reducing and or eradicating stigma associated with HIV and TB could all be substantively dealt with if we partner with the media and use the media effectively. For malaria, the utilization of mosquito nets is still a challenge, and the media can help us to improve bed nets utilization. We also depend on the media to help us in the fight against COVID. We need to encourage more persons to get vaccinated,” she explained.
“As we present and discuss today on our perspective of expanding media engagement, let us all be reminded that the more we engage the media the better the services we provide for HIV, TB, malaria and COVID will be utilized. Lastly I would like to express my thanks to the CM for organizing this meeting and to Global Fund and USAID for supporting this endeavor,” she added.
Madam Joyce Kilikpo, Chair of the LCM, said media engagement has been one of the main goals and aspirations of the group because it believes that nothing is ever possible in isolation with the media.
She urged the Liberian media to now begin to highlights more issues of the three diseases – TB, HIV and malaria.
“You can do this by engaging with the PRs that are implementing our various programs in the counties. We want to see more,” she indicated.
LCM is a multi-stakeholder body established in Liberia to coordinate country level activities with the Global Fund and ensure participatory decision- making.
Among other things, the LCM was established in accordance with the mandate laid out by the TGF’s Board. The structure and the concept of the LCM are intended to reflect the principles of national ownership and participatory decision making. The unique public-private partnership at the national level constitutes the governing body for the use of Global Fund resources in recipient countries. The LCM currently comprises members from the Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Academia, Private Sector and UN Agencies.