Dear Editor,The media on Match 13 carried two letters side by side; one was forthright in its description of the public servants whose incompetence, aptly described as “asleep at the wheel” resulted in Guyana losing ‘a significant part of the export basket of fishing products to the US; the other was a long dilation on management theories using sophisticated language (typical of Churchill calling a spade an agricultural instrument) to describe the various stages of managerial action/inaction in the public service which lead to success or failure in spite of the massive inputs of training provided to the public servants by high-powered local and international training providers. It is patently obvious from the latter that the public service is bogged down by its own indulgence in ‘splitting hairs’ over the meanings and application of various aspects of public policy with an over-kill on ‘strategizing’ (whatever that omnibus term may mean!) rather than focusing on effective, timely implementation and service delivery.What I think was even more surprising/disappointing was the notation that public policy analysis is designed “to teach government officials and public servants to read critically; think analytically and write concisely in all sectors”. I was always under the impression that these basic competencies were necessary pre-requisites for entry into the service. If scarce resources must be devoted to providing public servants with these basic skills and competencies, then one has to question the initial selection criteria and decision-making on selection for entry into the service.Sincerely,Nowrang Persaud
Dear Editor,The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has a sordid history. It was a tool in the hands of the PNC in rigging elections in the pre-1992 days.One of the deals brokered by the Carter Centre in the early 1990s was to make GECOM independent. That was done in the way the Commission was composed. The formula, three Commissioners appointed by the President in his own judgment. Three others through the recommendations of the Leader of the Opposition. The Chairperson to come from a consensus mechanism whereby the President would choose a person from a list presented to him by the Leader of the Opposition.GECOM was also made into a constitutional Body in May 2000 to ensure that elections could be held whenever required and in a professional manner. That arrangement worked well and gave us free and fair elections from 1992-2011.The behaviour of GECOM today is very disturbing. This Body, given powers by our Constitution, has done nothing to discharge its responsibility since the passing of the no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018. By its actions, it is sabotaging the will of the people and objectively imposing an undemocratic regime on the Guyanese people.This statement is not made lightly. I am convinced that GECOM is ready and can conduct elections in less than ninety days. That Body has been set up to deal with situations as we have now.In a previous article, I had pointed out that since 2005 GECOM has been:Doing continuous registration. I also know of persons who died whose names were removed from the list. This is a continuous process. This was happening up to very recently.Moreover, immediately after the no-confidence motion, Public Relations Officer, Guyana Elections Commission, Ms Yolanda Ward assured the nation that GECOM was ready to conduct elections to the highest standards.On December 27, 2018, in an interview with the Chronicle, Ms Ward was quoted as saying; “With this no-confidence motion, it means once a date is set, it will be held (the elections) … it is our constitutional mandate to conduct the General and Regional Elections and Local Government Elections (LGEs) … so whether it is in the 90 days then it is GECOM responsibility to conduct elections …”In the same article, she is further quoted to have said; “…what the law says GECOM has to do we will have to follow, it is conducted within the confines of the law … our guiding principle will be what it is rooted in chapter 103 … critical will be the timeline which we will use to guide us to ensure we stay within the specific timeline…”She is also reported to have told Guyana Times on the same date: “… If that is the decision then we will have to ensure that those elections are held as required …”Ms Ward is not alone in her views that the elections could be held within the time stipulated by the Constitution. The United Nations team that was here last year at the request of GECOM on a scoping exercise implied the same. True, it did not say so specifically because this situation caused by the “no-confidence” motion did not yet arise.However, in their recommendations, they made no reference to any need for a new house-to-house registration.Clearly then, the talk about new house-to-house registration is only an excuse to extend the life of this regime. It is a red herring. What is even more disturbing is that GECOM appears to be changing its position as the PNC-led APNU/AFC positions change.Recall that both the President and Prime Ministers made statements saying that they would respect the Constitution. It was at the same time that Ms Ward made her bold assertions.Now that they, by their actions, seem to have moved away from that position, they are doing all they can to frustrate the process.GECOM, in concert, has moved away from its position. Now they have been avoiding the holding of meetings and also joining with the PNC-led APNU/AFC in their efforts to hang on to power. It is sabotaging the people’s will.I am of the firm view that GECOM can hold the elections in time. Indeed, the time that they had to conduct the 2015 elections was also three months (90 days) and it was done.These situations were anticipated and laws were made to put them into effect. The same Article that Ms Ward referred to is explicit on it. Article 103 (5) states that GECOM has the power to reduce the time for certain transactions if need be. For instance, the time for nomination day can be reduced so too is the time for “Claims and Objections”.Therefore, it is clear that GECOM’s secretariat seems to be facilitating the PNC-led regime to frustrate the will of the Guyanese people.Once more, GECOM is subjugating itself to the dictates of the PNC/APNU regime. This is a throwback to the PNC dictatorial days.I believe that it is criminal to deliberately act in a manner that subverts the Constitution. There should be serious consequences for this offence. GECOM’s senior officers must be held responsible for this sabotage.I
Wales Estate closure– slow business sales citedBy Shemuel FanfairAlthough the closure of Wales Estate is slated for yearend, a group of market vendors and sugar workers, who depend heavily on the entity for their sustenance, on Saturday complained that with the announcement of closure, business is very slow.As a result, they are finding it difficult to pay bills and send their children to school. In this light, they have reiterated that the Wales Estate should be given “a second chance.”Vendor Pam (only name given), stated that when the estate closes, she is unsure of just how she will afford to take care of her family.“When this estate close down, me nah know if we gon get a biscuit or bread fuh eat, where dis money gon come from; you got bills fuh pay, tax fuh pay, water you pay by meter…since de people hear de announcement, [they’re holding in their money],” the woman stated.Pork vendor Mary Clarke, who has lived in Wales for the past 40 years, explained that she is yet to decide on her future as when the estate closes, her financial life will change.One worker, who said he has over 30 years’ service with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) called on President David Granger to ensure that the decision to close Wales is reversed.“When meh hear de estate a close down, da is a nightmare in meh life…de money wah me draw yesterday (Friday), you got to pay monthly water meter, yo got all kind instalments. So we ah ask de President of the country to give de Estate a second chance because de President cares for de people, we care to de President and also to de estate,” the sugar worker noted.Other vendors on the market raised concerns about the increase of criminal activities in the area. Vendor, Bibi Rameshwar, a Bellvue, WBD, resident noted that her pension is assisting in her survival as sales are already slow in the area.The woman further explained that her son has been working with the estate for the past 20 years but he has not been told when he would receive his severance package.GuySuCo and the unions representing sugar workers, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) are currently engaged in a High Court battle over GuySuCo not consulting the unions on the workers’ employment status.The High Court matter will be called on July 7 as the sugar corporation requested time to respond to the litigation on the grounds that it was not properly notified.Meanwhile sugar operations at Wales will close by yearend.
A fisherman is now hospitalised after he was beaten by his cutlass wielding nephew during an argument at Friendship, Corentyne, Berbice, on Thursday last.The injured man has been identified as Deonarine Boodhoo, 43, of Friendship Squatting Area.Reports are that Boodhoo and his nephew, Suresh Persaud, 23, had a misunderstanding that stemmed from a family dispute. The nephew told Police that he confronted Boodhoo to speak with him about his behaviour but instead, he was attacked with a cutlass.Persaud reportedly managed to relieve the man of the cutlass and dealt him a blow to the back. The now injured man collapsed and was taken to the New Amsterdam Hospital where he was admitted and remains a patient.From reports received, the man is slipping in and out of consciousness and has to be monitored by doctors and nurses.Police in B Division (Berbice) have detained Persaud as they continue investigations into the incident.
Hawa Jande Golakai, Liberia’s award-winning crime fiction writer and author of The Lazarus Effect (Kwela Books, 2011), has been selected as one of Africa’s top 39 writers under the age of 40 from Africa and the Diaspora. The selection was made at the London Book Fair (LBF) breakfast press conference in London on Tuesday April 8th.The ‘Africa 39’, as the select group is called, is an initiative of the UK-Based Hay Festival which it carries out with World Book Capitals – with Bogota in 2007 and Beirut in 2010. This project comprises the selection and celebration of 39 writers under the age of 40 who have the potential to define the literature of an area or language. ‘Africa 39’ features writers from Africa, South of the Sahara.The list of the 39 was unveiled at the Port Harcourt World Book Capital stand at the London Book Fair (8th April) and would be announced again during the opening ceremonies of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital programme (22 to 26 April).Golakai, who made her debut as an author just three years ago with The Lazarus Effect, wowed the industry when she scored the coveted Sunday Times (South Africa) 2012 Literary Award for outstanding suspense and best fiction novel of the year. The Lazarus Effect was also shortlisted for the 2012 University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for Creative Writing as well as the prestigious Wole Soyinka African Fiction prize.By profession, Golakai is a clinical immunologist and holds a BSc in Molecular and Cell Biology (2004-2005) from the University of Cape Town with honors. However, the success of her first novel has clearly infused confidence to continue in her literary pursuits. Her 2nd title – yet undisclosed – is almost complete. “It means a lot to me because that’s what most authors look out for: recognition,” says Golakai. “It adds up to your credentials and I think that’s a good start for me especially with The Lazarus Effect being my first novel, that’s where your fame comes in. So for me, I’m very excited as an author and also a Liberian knowing that I was able to make my country proud. I’m also very humbled about all this, I’m not going to let it get to my head and I’m really looking forward to networking with other writers in Port Harcourt.”The 39 writers have been commissioned to write for an anthology to be published by Bloomsbury with foreword by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. Ellah Allfree will edit the Africa 39 anthology.The research to arrive at the names of the authors was carried out by Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana. A long list of about 100 names emerged from screening of the over 200 entries from Africa and the diaspora responded to a call that drew participation from authors, publishers, academics, libraries, readers, etc. around Africa and the diaspora. The panel of judges, who selected the final 39 were- Elechi Amadi, Margaret Busby and Tess Onwueme.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) over the weekend made three separate donations to various institutions in their fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) across the country.Institutions that benefited from the LPRC’s gestures were office of Montserrado County Electoral District #13, Nimba County Ebola Taskforce, and the Administration of the James N. Davis Memorial Hospital in Monrovia respectively,LPRC said it continued to buttress the efforts of individuals and organizations in the fight against the EVD, “because the fight was not yet won by the government.”Items the company donated last Friday, were several pieces of diesel fuel coupons and testing thermometers.Specifically, the LPRC through its Managing Director, T. Nelson Williams, II, presented 250 gallons of diesel fuel to Rep. Saah Joseph for use of his two ambulances that have continued to transport those afflicted by various diseases to and from health centers in Monrovia.Mr. Williams, who made the donation at the offices of the LPRC on Bushrod Island, applauded Representative Saah Joseph, and his team for the “excellent work” being done in catering to people afflicted by the EVD as the ambulances take them to various health facilities.“We are following what you are doing with the ambulances, and the help you are also providing as it relates to food at the Redemption Hospital. God will repay you because we know that you have not benefited from any government given funds, but your own funds”, Mr. Williams indicated.He then presented the 250 gallons of diesel fuel to Rep. Joseph and noted that the LPRC is ready to respond to any call from the Montserrado Lawmaker, who continues to serve humanity.Rep. Joseph, upon receiving the LPRC gesture, expressed gratitude to the management for the gift and also for the level of work done in mobilizing people in the communities relative to the awareness on Ebola.“Your donation is a door opening and we will continue to do our best to help people get to hospitals”, Rep. Joseph assured the LPRC management.He also expressed appreciation to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Ebola Taskforce for the continuous sacrifices they were making to contain the EVD.The LPRC also made a donation of nine pieces of testing equipment to the people of Nimba County, mainly for each of the nine Electoral Districts in the county.In a related development, LPRC Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Jackson F. Doe, Jr. who made similar donation, said Nimba being one of the infected counties from the Ebola outbreak, the LPRC management decided to give the devices to the people of the county as a help in the fight against Ebola.He earlier presented the devices to the Nimba University students at the Cuttington University (CU) for onward presentation to the people of the county.The president of the Nimba University students at the CU, Charles Wonkeryor, thanked the LPRC family for their timely intervention in coming to the aid of the Nimba people. He and promised that the items would be used for their intended purposes.At the same time also, the LPRC management, through it public relations manager, William Morris, on behalf of the management, presented 500 gallons of diesel coupons to the James N. Davis Memorial Hospital. While presenting the coupons, Mr. Morris, said the management appreciated the sacrifices staff members of the hospital were making in the fight against the EVD.“We are presenting those 500 coupons to you based on the instruction from the President through which the company was pleased to present the 500 gallons of coupons,” Mr. Morris noted.Upon receiving the coupons, James Kaikai, general administrator of the hospital, said his staff was grateful to President Sirleaf and the LPRC for the gesture. He then promised to continue carrying on their respective tasks by helping to save lives.Among those who attended the presentation ceremonies was another Montserrado County District #7 Lawmaker, Representative Thomas Fallah.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
It was announced on Tuesday that the GOL had exempted the press from the curfew, but with preconditions. Journalists are only exempted while going to and coming from work.Information Minister Lewis Brown has strictly “warned” journalists to obey the curfew rules and not make “trouble” for security forces. What are he and his government talking about, and what are they trying to prove? Who told him that news waits for daybreak?Browne surely cannot even suggest, must less prove, that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government is more mean-spirited than the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), which in April, 1980 overthrew the government of President William R. Tolbert in a bloody military coup d’etat, killed him and his topmost officials and led the country through 10 years of terror, leading to the civil war. The PRC also seriously persecuted the media. President Sirleaf been far more faithful to her constitutional oath to “defend, protect and uphold” freedom of conscience, expression and of the press. But . . .The “but” has to do with curfews. The Daily Observer newspaper was founded shortly after the April 12, 1980 coup. Its maiden issue was launched on February 16, 1981 when the curfew, imposed shortly after the coup, was still very much in force and was to remain for nearly two years. But despite his own erratic behavior toward the press, especially the Daily Observer, Justice Minister Chea Cheapoo granted the newspaper’s staff a pass by which they were able to traverse (pass through) the streets of greater Monrovia throughout the night and wee hours of morning. With very little advertising coming in at the time, the editorial staff had to fill 12 or more pages with editorial stuff every night, which often kept us in the office until after four each morning, following which we had to drive the staff through Logan Town, new Kru Town, Gardinersville and Paynesville, when the publishers finally got home. The staff, riding the company’s only vehicle, a Peugeot 504 station wagon, every night encountered numerous heavily armed soldiers who often asked in an angry tone: “What are you doing in the streets this time of morning? Don’t you people know there’s a curfew in this country?” But we showed our pass, they let us go.There’s something else the Minister doesn’t understand, and not surprisingly since he is not a media professional but a mere politician: He does not understand that there are five groups of professionals that have a common calling in emergencies: the priest, who is there to pray for the critically ill or perform what the Roman Catholics call the “extreme unction;” the law enforcement people, who show up quickly when there’s trouble anywhere; the health and medical personnel who come in when there’s a medical emergency; the lawyer, who intervenes at odd hours to save a client from prison; and finally, the journalist, who shows up to tell the story.These five groups of professionals have each a vital role to perform in an emergency; so it is wrong, even foolhardy to restrain or restrict anyone of them in a curfew. If the Minister thinks there may be too many journalists, he could offer few passes per media house. But he and his government cannot bar journalists from doing their work. Remember, it is we, the journalists, who write the first draft of history. Don’t restrain us from performing this vital function in human and world affairs.History, in many dimensions, is being made in Liberia at this time. The press must be there to write about it and help this and future generations to know and understand what really happened so as not to repeat the mistakes of our past. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
This article presents a practical approach to fixing Liberia’s broken healthcare delivery system. It offers realistic approaches to deal with the meltdown of the system during the Ebola crisis by offering alternatives to rebuild the system. Since the advent of Ebola, the attention of Liberians and the world has dramatically increase regarding the harrowing and appalling state of Liberia’s healthcare delivery system. So, let’s cut right to the chase: The ensuing debate over how weak our healthcare delivery system is isn’t going to go away anytime soon. It may sound daunting, but the reality is that these challenges are surmountable – if, that is, our leaders totally commit themselves to tackling these challenges sincerely and with the right people leading the charge to properly manage the change. Liberia already has the needed people, know-how, experience, and financing to make its healthcare delivery system one of the best on the continent. However, with strong political will from the President, sustained encouragement from the legislature, pressure from an informed public, and a ‘can do’ attitude from policymakers to make real change happen, Liberia’s healthcare delivery system can be fixed. We too can make our voices heard by offering alternatives in a constructive manner and presenting structural reform measures, which can realistically fix our healthcare delivery system. It has already been well established that Liberia’s healthcare delivery system is totally broken and desperately in need of urgent repair. Every Liberian knows that our healthcare delivery system is awfully dysfunctional, and doesn’t deliver effective and adequate care to the vast majority of our people. And, because of its horrific condition, it impacts families miserably and impoverishes the vast majority of our people unnecessarily. Our healthcare delivery system is unevenly weighted toward the privileged and urban centers and contributes to poverty and inequity. Despite considerable increase in spending over the past decade, our healthcare system continues to undermine socioeconomic development by not ensuring equity or adequately addressing the substantial increase in our disease burden. This author believes that this is the primary reason why Liberians who are in poor health less often move up and more frequently move down the social ladder than those who are privileged, connected and in good health.Because equitable and sustainable access to healthcare delivery has not been attained in Liberia, the biggest causes of morbidity remain malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea, typhoid, intestinal worms, anemia and malnutrition. In addition, life expectancy is lower, infant deaths are higher, and there are fewer doctors and hospital beds available on average to Liberians. In addition, it is near impossible for a woman to give birth in Liberia without complications due in part to treatment, medication, location of facilities and transportation to facilities. As a result, there is high child and maternal mortality, recurrent epidemics and health crisis, which chronically aggravates the system, according to WHO, the World Health Organization. As such, over 37% of children who are less than five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition with 7% of them suffering from acute malnutrition, causing stunting in nearly one-third, and leaving 2 in 5 underweight, this is according to UNICEF, the UN Children agency. Furthermore, many Liberians, particularly those in peri-urban and rural areas, often have to travel long distances to receive basic healthcare. And, once they reach a hospital or a clinic, they can only receive care when they pay the exorbitant cost for treatment and medication. Inevitably, many ends up foregoing treatment, while those who can afford to pay, find cost ruinous and quality of service limited. Worst of all, medicines are loosely and cavalierly sold on the street by peddlers hawking counterfeit drugs because the country’s healthcare system does not have regulatory enforcement powers and systems for dispensing drugs safely across the board.Liberia is not a healthy country by any stretch of one’s imagination, and it has not been healthy for the past decade when numerous opportunities and massive goodwill existed to make a real difference in the lives of the vast majority of our people after years of terrible wars and socioeconomic dislocation. During this period, our healthcare delivery system was neglected and underserved, consistently relying on bilateral organizations and international institutions to upgrade and provide the most basic of resources, treatment, medication, supplies, equipment and technical assistance. Today, the state of our healthcare delivery system is one of poor population, subjected to abject poverty and burden by diseases that have been eradicated or brought under control in most of the world. The challenge for our country is to implement basic sanitation,
National Commission on DisabilitiesMrs. Ricardia Dennis, Executive DirectorRev. Fallah Boima, Deputy Director for AdministrationMr. Joshua Bull, Deputy Director for Technical Services Ministry of Health Dr. Bernice Dahn, MinisterDr. Francis Kateh, Deputy Minister of Health/Chief Medical OfficerMr. Edward B. Tolbert, Deputy Minister for AdministrationMr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Head of the Incident Management System and the (with the rank of Deputy Minister) Emergency Operation Center Ministry of EducationMr. George Werner, Minister Mr. Aagon Tingba, Deputy Minister, AdministrationDr. Romelle A. Horton, Deputy Minister, Instruction Mr. Gbovadeh Gbilia, Assistant Minister, Fiscal Affairs & Human Resource DevelopmentMr. Seklau Dukuly, Assistant Minister, Science, Technology, Vocational and Special Education Mrs. Felicia Doe-Sumah, Assistant Minister, Basic and Secondary Education Mr. Augustine Martin Kuleh, Asst. Minister, Student Personnel Services Mrs. Yukhiko D’Lovette Amnon, Assistant Minister, Early Childhood Education Mr. Advertus O. Wright, Assistant Minister, Teacher Education Ministry of Youth and SportsMr. Lance Gbagonyon, Assistant Minister for Youth Development (replacing Mr. Teeko Yorlay, who goes away for further training) Additionally, she has constituted the National Education Advisory Board which comprise of:Five Members of the County School Boards (to be provided by MoE)Chairperson of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (to be provided by MCSS)The President of the Principal Association of Liberia; (to be provided by MoE)The President of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (MoE)The President of the Parent Teacher Association of Liberia (MoE)Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell (the President)The Executive Secretary of the Association of Liberian Universities (MoE)One Representative of the Federation of Labor Union (MoL)The President of Liberian National Students Union (MoE)One Representative from the Civil Service Association; (Civil Service)One Representative from the Chamber of Commerce; (Chamber of Commerce)One Representative from the Association of Private School Operators (MoE)The National Head of the West Africa Examination Council (MoE)One Representative from the Technical and Vocational Education Training Institute (MoE & MY&S) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made major changes in government affecting the ministries of Education, Health, LPRC, among others.Those appointed are subject to confirmation where applicable.The exercise, according to an ELBC exclusive late news yesterday, became necessary to bring more effectiveness into government.Some of those appointed include Dr. Bernice Dahn, Minister of Health and Social Welfare (MOH/SW). Until her appointment, Dr. Dahn served as Chief Medical Officer (CMO).Others appointed at the MOH/SW are Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, Deputy Minister and CMO, succeeding Dr. Dahn. Dr. Kateh previously served as Chief Medical Officer in-charge of the Jackson Fiah Doe (JFD) Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Lower Nimba County.At the same time, President Sirleaf has named Mr. Tolbert Nyeswah, head of Ebola Incident Management Team, with the rank of Deputy Minister and Emergency Operations, MOH/SW.Others: Lofa County former Senator, Prof. Sumo Kupee, Managing Director, LPRC replacing T. Nelson Williams; while George Werner has meanwhile replaced Education Madame Etmonia David Tarpeh, as Minister of Education. He too has remained as the director general at the Civil Service Agency (CSA) when he was rejected by the Senate following his designation last year as Minister of Health to replace Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, who has retired.President Sirleaf also named Dr. Puchu Leona Bernard as the new CSA Director-General, while former Cuttington University president, Dr. Henrique Tokpa becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Port Authority (NPA).Meanwhile, President Sireaf has dissolved the entire board of the Liberia Airport Authority to be reconstituted subsequently. Ministry of Internal AffairsMr. Stephen Neufville, Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs Ministry of Public WorksMr. Ousman Kamara, Assistant Minister for Administration Mr. William Slour, Assistant Minister for OperationsMr. N. Pawon Baoyue, Assistant Minister for Planning and ProgrammingMr. Sumoiwuo Zizi Harris, Assistant Minister for Rural Development National Port AuthorityDr. Henrique Tokpah, Chairman of the Board of Directors The President has also reconstituted the Monrovia Consolidated School System Board:Mrs. Hester Williams Catakaw Cllr. Rosemarie JamesMrs. Christine NormanMs. Alveria Morris-RaynesMr. Charles S. N’TowMs. Hawa NorrisMr. Emmanuel O. KparhMother Mary N. Brownell – Advisor Paynesville City CouncilMr. Abel VokerMr. Nowai GorlorwuluMr. Massaquoi KamaraMr. James DaviesMs. Alice BaysahMr. Formbah TrawallyMrs. Lorpu KandakaiMrs. Zoe BakerMs. Cyvette Gibson Ministry of JusticeCllr. Emmanuel Tulay, Deputy Minister for Economic AffairsCllr. Harriette
The right of persons to health care especially at this period of time in the history of Liberia is precarious and worrisome. It is the responsibility of Government to protect the public from epidemic, prevent and control communicable diseases such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, typhoid and measles amongst others; provide access to affordable and quality health care and promote health.These responsibilities of preventing, promoting and protecting public health, until the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, have been taken for granted by both the governed and the governors. We are not sure of the percentage of persons with access to health care system in the urban and rural areas of Liberia. We are yet to account for the number of persons who died (dying) due to lack of access to health care and not from Ebola virus.Our rights to public health protection include full access to affordable health care, availability, equity in the distribution of health care facilities to vulnerable communities and marginalized groups and lastly consideration for gender mainstreaming.When I visit the counties, people often told me “access to medical facility is poor, health centers lack basic medical supplies and health workers are inadequately trained”. I did not believe this and I must confess being a victim of this reality.Sometimes, in our quest for peace and investment is social security, we must take time to examine our health care system and see how best to improve on it. The Ebola epidemic in recent times gives us an avenue to re-examine our health care system in line with the rights of Liberians to quality health care. It is the right of every citizen to be provided with adequate health care coverage and protected from disease epidemic.As Messengers of Peace, we are optimistic that a time would come in the history of this country when affordable health insurance scheme would be introduced and available to most Liberians. Adequate health care coverage is possible in Liberia and so is sustainable peace. Our mandate is to advocate for peace and investment in social security.Self-care is taken for granted by everyone until something happens, as individuals we need to put in place health care monitor through temperature screening until Liberia is declared Ebola free.It is critical to avoid dealing (except it is our job to do so) directly with those suspected of Ebola virus and we should avoid contact with animals that are reservoirs of infection.The Ebola epidemic has brutally exposed the weakness of our health care system as well as the limitations of our rights to health care and it would be in our best interest to benefit from the lessons learned. We need to educate our children through the stories and information we provide them with.Support the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates- The Right to Educate”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)