The Liberian Government has conferred honors on 42 distinguished individuals, humanitarians, institutions, organizations, most of them associated with the fight against the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, including all health care workers; eight of them posthumously together with all health care workers who lost their lives during the period of Ebola thus kick-starting the official celebrations of Liberia’s 168th Independence Anniversary.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Investiture Ceremony took place in the theater of the Monrovia City Hall in the presence of high-ranking government officials, diplomats, well-wishers and family members of the honorees.
In brief remarks, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also Grand Master of the Orders of Distinction, recognized those to be honored for their devotion, sacrifices, and altruism, noting that several, in the discharge of their duties and in their response to service, paid the ultimate price of life. She indicated that though we cannot bring them back we will forever cherish their memories.
The Liberian leader paid tribute to those, who despite the risks, put country before self; taking on the challenges to reach out and administer to those befallen by an unknown enemy. “We owe much to our doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, and healthcare workers who stood by us in those terrifying days,” said emphasized, acknowledging with pride the indispensable role played by the communities represented by the several groups being honored.
President Sirleaf extolled Liberia’s friends from around the world who left the comfort and safety of their country and families to join and stand by the country in this fight. “I cannot say enough for the leaders and people of our own regional institutions – ECOWAS, AU - several countries like brother’s keepers where here despite the obvious risks.” She thanked everyone for what they did in the interest of Liberia and its people.
The Liberian leader stressed that although the virus is still around, government is confident in its capability to response and defeat the virus.
Before Health Minister, Dr. Bernice Dahn, received the honor on behalf of the healthcare workers, a Citation by the President read by the Chief of Protocol, Republic of Liberia, Ambassador Rufus Neufville stated in part: “…The impact of this outbreak has been enormous in terms of loss of human lives and negative economic socio-economic consequences. The health care workers were disproportionately affected with more than 300 cases and about 200 deaths reported amongst this group.
“In the midst of the inadequate health work force, the country suffered seriously by the impact of Ebola on our tireless health workers. This number of health workers have created a huge gap in the healthcare delivery system of the country. The nation will forever remember the health workers still alive and passed for their efforts in the war against Ebola…”
To Dr. Kent Brantly, a Medical Doctor of the Samaritan Purse and a humanitarian, who became affected by Ebola thus becoming the first person to be treated in the United States when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital, his Citation stated: “After your recovery, you spoke to the President of the United States urging the President and Congress to commit resources in proportion to the magnitude of the crisis in West Africa. You felt it a privilege and duty to speak out on behalf of the people of West Africa who continue to suffer from the scourge of Ebola…”
To the late Dr. Samuel Brisbane, a victim of the Ebola virus, the Citation by the President read: “…By his demise the Liberian people have been deprived of his valuable and professional expertise in the field of public health and the nation, a distinguished servant of humanity…”
Responding later on behalf of the honorees, the Head of the Incident Management System, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, said it was significant that they were being recognized for their services to country. He recalled that when Ebola struck, they were almost ill prepared to handle the challenges that came along; but they all stood together as a team - courageous, willing, committed and brave - and went the extra mile.
Mr. Nyenswah said even though they fought the disease from different angles, with different titles and responsibilities, the main objective was to save lives; to rid Liberia of Ebola and free them of anguish. “The significant impact that the team has made can be attributed to meaningful contributions of communities and the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President Sirleaf.”
He paid tribute to the healthcare workers who lost their lives in the service of the nation and thanked all of those who supported their efforts in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.
Those admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Grand Commander included: Chief Medical Officer, Republic of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh; Humanitarian, Rev. Trevor Cockings; the Head of the Incident Management System, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah; Medical Doctor at the ELWA Hospital, Dr. Jerry Brown, and Medical Director and Humanitarian, Samaritan Purse, Dr. Kent Brantly.
Others were the Medical Doctor, Bomi County Health Office, Dr. Gobah Logan; Medical Doctor and Head of Case Management, Dr. Moses Massaquoi; Medical Doctor, Sinoe County Health Office, Dr. Wilmot Frank; the ETA Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Dental Surgeon, JFK Memorial Hospital, Dr. Markandu Kanagasabai.
Still others were the Medical Doctor, J.F.K. Memorial Hospital, Dr. Philip Zochonis Ireland; Liberia Council of Churches; Medical Doctor, JFK Memorial Hospital, Dr. Soka Moses; Medical Doctor and Active Case Finder, Dr. Mosoka Fallah; and Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter #260 of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Others admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Grand Commander are the Press Union of Liberia; Medical Doctor, Catholic Hospital and an Ebola Survivor, Dr. Senga Omeonga; and All Health Care Workers.
Those admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Commander include: Royal Air Maroc; Brussels Airlines; Medical Doctor, Catholic Hospital and a Survivor, Dr. Izuchukwu Cosmos Aroh; Medical Doctor, Catholic Hospital and a Survivor, Dr. Fanta Kibungu; Coordinator, Presidential Advisory Committee on Ebola (PACE), Dr. Emmanuel Dolo; Nurse and Ebola Survivor, Ms. Barbara Bono; and Administrator, St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital and a Survivor, Mr. Joel Williams.
Mr. Samuel T.Nimley, Jr. was admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Officer.
Those admitted into the Humane Order of African Redemption, with the Grade of Knight Commander include: National Muslim Council of Liberia; Firestone Natural Rubber Company; National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia; Representative, Montserrado County, Honorable Saah Joseph; Liberia National Red Cross Society; Samaritan Purse; and the Head of the Ebola Burial Team, Mr. Mark Korvayan.
Those posthumously admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Grand Commander, respectively included: Medical Doctor and Humanitarian, Dr. Samuel Brisbane; Head, Internal Medicine, JFK Memorial Hospital, Dr. Abraham Borbor; Gynecologist and Surgeon, Dr. John Taban Dada; Medical Director, JFK Memorial Hospital, Dr. Thomas Scotland; Hospital Director, Catholic Hospital, Dr, Patrick Nshamdze; and Medical Director, JFK Memorial Hospital, Dr. Thomas Scotland.
All Health Care Workers who lost their lives during the period of Ebola with admitted posthumously into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Commanders, respectively
Others posthumously admitted into the Humane Order of African Redemption, with the Grade of Knight Officer, respectively included: Spanish Priest, St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, Rev. Fr. Miquel; Nurse, St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, Rev, Sis. Chantel; and Pharmacist, St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, Br. George Combey.
The Investiture Ceremonies will continue at the J. Dominic Bing refurbished City Hall in Sinoe County during the official celebration of Liberia’s Independence Anniversary on Monday, July 27, where Ambassador Charles A. Minor, who’s also the Independence Day Orator, will be admitted into the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band.
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