Tuesday, March 1, 2016SGRodriguez
2016 will be a year of transition and recovery for Liberia. In June 2016, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will hand over security responsibilities to the Government of Liberia (GOL), ending nearly 13 years in the country. As part of the GOL’s Security Transition Plan, IOM is providing technical assistance to the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) in revising Liberia’s Alien and Nationality Law, which will support the government’s migration management efforts.
On the public health front, Liberia enters a new phase in its response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). On 14 January 2016, the WHO declared the end of the latest EVD outbreak in Liberia. The declaration comes 42 days after the last confirmed patient in Liberia tested negative for the disease twice (WHO). Despite this critical milestone, Liberia remains in a heightened surveillance period that will last 90 days – ending in April 2016. The Government of Liberia and partners are focused on ensuring Liberia’s Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system is strengthened in order to detect and identify cases of Ebola and other priority diseases and ultimately respond to public health events in an efficient way. Additionally, the government is working with partners to formulate a standard resettlement package for EVD survivors as part of the national EVD Survivors Care and Support Policy. The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with WHO and partners, is also finalizing national clinical guidelines for EVD survivors. Two USAID-funded IOM projects are underway supporting surveillance efforts and Epidemic Preparedness and Response in the eight border counties of Liberia (see Programme Updates).
Liberia’s borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea remain open, but the border with the Ivory Coast is still closed and is tentatively scheduled to reopen in March 2016. Despite the border closure, the UNHCR-led voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees resumed 18 December 2015 using designated humanitarian corridors. IOM is supporting the voluntary repatriation operation with temperature screening at ports of entry in Maryland, Nimba, and Grand Gedeh counties (see Programme Updates).