On Tuesday, Kanio Bai-Gbala, spokesperson of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), appeared on OK FM and made these claims:
1. Liberia, for the first time in history, commissioned two oxygen plants.“ (1:38:53 minutes)
2. “For the first time in history, the western region has a referral hospital. (1:38:57 minutes)
3. “We doubled enrollment at the University in six years, from 10,000 to 20,000.” (1:39:42 minutes)
4. “Liberia now has its first dialysis center.”
5. “We created Tuside Field, West Point Sports Pitch, and Invisible Park.” (1:45:46)
Verification 1: An assessment done by the Ministry of Health titled “National Roadmap to Increase Access to Medical Oxygen in Liberia shows that six of the 53 assessed facilities, which represent 11%, had on-site oxygen plants.
The facilities include Phebe Hospital, JJ Dossen Hospital, ELWA Hospital, Redemption Hospital, St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, and Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital.
However, the assessment says only three (50%) of those plants were functional, and the other three were non-functional.
The three that were non-functional were due to a Lack of spare parts, and of the functional ones, only one plant (JJ Dossen Hospital) was supplying oxygen to other facilities.
Conclusion: It is a fact that Liberia in 2022 commissioned two oxygen plants in Monrovia, but they are not the first in Liberia, as stated by Kanio.
The two plants will produce approximately 120 cylinders of medical-grade oxygen per day to serve a population of about 2.3 million in five counties: Montserrado, Margibi, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Grand Cape Mount.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health Communication Office says the two plants are post-COVID oxygen plants and not the first in Liberia.
Verification 2: On December 28, 2022, President George Weah dedicated Emirates Hospital in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County, which is the region’s first referral hospital.
The region is made up of Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount counties.
The Ministry of Health also confirmed that the Emirates is the first regional hospital
Conclusion: The claim that the first referral health facility was constructed under this administration is true.
Verification 3: In 2018, Weah announced a free tuition policy at undergraduate public institutions.
The Stage Media requested the administration of the University of Liberia through Freedom of Information (FOI) to provide the enrollment details.
Our request generated information from the 2014 enrollment to the 2020–2021 first semester.
In 2014/15, the University of Liberia’s enrollment was 32,625; males comprised 70 percent and females amounted to 30 percent.
After the declaration of the policy in 2018, there was a massive climb in enrollment at the University of Liberia, with a registration of 38,391
While the 2019–20 and 2020–21 first semester records were the lowest at the state-run University of Liberia.
Conclusion: Kanio’s claim that enrollment at the university doubled in six years from 10,000 to 20,000 is misleading.
The University of Liberia’s enrollment between 2014-2017 has never been 10,000. Before the administration of Weah, the university enrolled over 30 thousand students.
Verification 4: TSM contacted the Ministry of Health, which confirmed that the claim was true.
Weah dedicated Liberia’s first Dialysis Center and named it in honor of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Efforts to acquire the critical facility began a decade ago during the regime of former President Sirleaf to provide access to much-needed dialysis care in Liberia, according to the Executive Mansion.
Conclusion: The claim that Weah dedicated Liberia’s first dialysis center is true.
Verification 6: According to the Liberia Football Association’s Facebook page, Tuside Field was sponsored by FIFA.
“Tusa field shape up gradually
The ongoing construction work at the Tusa field in Gardnersville is shaping up gradually.
Funded by FIFA, the field will have an artificial turf, a seating capacity, a medical facility, and rooms for the home and away teams and match officials.
Liberia Football Association President Mustapha Raji and Vice President Wilmot Smith, who is supervising the project, visited the contractors on 3 March.
Smith has been regularly updating his Facebook followers with developments on the projects,” This is what is written on LFA’s Facebook page.
Weah expressed joy at the dedication of the late Albert Doe Sports Pitch in West Point, calling it a fulfilment of his development strategy, which includes the construction of a recreation center that enables and affords Liberian kids opportunities to develop their skills.
On February 9, 2021, Weah broke ground for the construction of the sports park as part of his flagship sports development program, named the Invincible Sports Pitch. The project was then dedicated by Weah in 2022.
Conclusion: Kanio’s assertion that Weah pitched for Tuside, West Point, and Invincible Sports is somewhat correct. FIFA built Tuside Field, while the Weah administration built Invincible and West Point Pitches.
This story was produced with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development’s (CJID) support.