Public Officials Not Abiding by Health Protocols
Even though the government of Liberia through the Health Ministry (MOH) has consistently told the public that it is compulsory to follow all of the preventive health measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19.
The Health Ministry with assistance from the Liberia National Police is enforcing the wearing of nose masks, social distancing in public places, restrictions on nightlife, compulsory handwashing in public places.
Despite these messages, officials of the government have numerous times abandoned these measures and are seeing violating them.
Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, during a book launch, to create awareness on the danger of the COVID-19 virus was seen along with guests not wearing the nose mask nor observing social distancing.
Displayed on the Analyst newspaper, the Vice President is seen with guests after the launch of a VP Taylor launched the new momentum to various ongoing awareness and sensitization projects against the scorch of the prevailing COVID-19 against the pandemic in the country at her Capitol Building office but has a photo to speaks a different language to the public.
On a similar note, the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh was seeing in a photo on social media after one of the COVID-19 updates with a Liberian Journalist only wearing a nose mask but in close body contact without observing social distancing.
Dr. Kateh (f-r) and Journalist Oscar Mulbah
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says a mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. “Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart, especially when indoors around people who don’t live in your household.”
Both VP Taylor and Kateh are heavily involved with advocacy on the fight against COVID-19 by constructing billboards in the street with messages calling on citizens to stay safe and follow the preventive health measures while Dr. Kateh is leading on awareness of the virus.
But, Madam Joyce, Kilikpo Jarwolo, Executive Director Public Health Initiative Liberia in an interview told The Stage Media that it is a shame that people in public offices who are making protocols as it relates to COVID-19 will not set the right example for citizens to follow.
She said it is important that leaders lead by example during difficult times because it encourages citizens and makes the public believe the fright.
Madam Jarwolo said those actions defect the fight against COVID-19 because it questions the integrity protocols, as well as the truthfulness of those action policymakers, expect from the citizens.
“If leaders are not doing what they are asking the citizens do to with the level of challenge of even having citizens trusting the authority as it relates to COVID-19 we will go a long way in impacting the fight against the virus,” Mrs. Jarwolo.
Mrs. Jarwolo said, “it is important as we say it, we try our weak way to model the behaviour that we want the citizens to emulate.
James Dahn, a public health expert says “For those of us struggling to stay motivated to continue social distancing and wearing masks, cases where public officials ignore the very rules they are imposing on others can feel like more than enough reason to give up, or at least cry, “hypocrisy!”
“I can well imagine a public official telling himself, after urging others not to gather with family for the holidays, that, being very knowledgeable of the issue, he can adequately protect himself and his loved ones from the risks he asks other citizens to avoid,”said Dahn.