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Africa Poises For Top WHO Post-As Dr. Tedros Tipped As Favourite

 The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, has been tipped as the next Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) due to the numerous endorsements from Africa and other Asian and Western nations.

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SCNL Condemns Ranger’s Death At SAPO National Park

The Society for the Conversation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL) has condemned the gruesome killing of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Ranger, who was assigned at the SAPO National Park and expressed regrets for the incident.

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Charcoal Union Dedicates Modern Latrine in Cape Mount

The latrine                                                     NACUL officials, partners and residents at the program

The National Charcoal Union of Liberia (NACUL), on Thursday, May 4, 2017, dedicated a modern latrine in Weajue, Gola-Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County.

NACUL undertook the Weajue’s latrine project through the Gola-Konneh District Charcoal Producers Association. NACUL financed the project while members of the Gola-Konneh District Charcoal Producers Association assisted with the labor force.

Started on November 25, 2016, the four-room compartment project is a part of NACUL’s community service program, and it was implemented following series of consultations with residents in Weajue. The residents provided the project site.

Speaking at the dedicatory program, NACUL President, Mr. Richard T. A. Dorbor, said the project is part of the Union’s community service program.

According to Dorbor, NACUL decided to undertake the project through the Gola-Konneh Charcoal Producers Association, a local network, in response to Weajue residents’ appeal for latrine.

Dorbor said the Union solely financed the project, which he estimated at a little over US$3,000.00 (three thousand United States dollars). He then urged residents to ensure the proper maintenance of the latrine.

Also in separate remarks, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Technical Manager, Mr. Joseph Tally, Region #I Forester, Mrs. Ruth Varney and Commercial Department Coordinator, Mr. William Pewu, praised NACUL for undertaking such an initiative on its own.

Delivering an official statement on behalf of FDA Managing Director, Mr. Tally reaffirmed his institution’s commitment to supporting NACUL in its drive to sustainable charcoal production, market and other projects in the sector.

Interestingly, Green Gold Liberia, an NGO, was encouraged by the NACUL-sponsored latrine project and promised to train charcoal producers on sustainable and alternative production.

Making remarks at the occasion, Green Gold Liberia Lead Technical Consultant, Mr. Gerrad Singh, commended NACUL and its network organizations for the project.

Singh also presented to Gola-Konneh Charcoal Producers Association a simple machine that compacts coal dust, saw dust, ashes and other wastes to usable coal. He named wreaths, grass and other agricultural wastes as sources of charcoal if production must be sustainable, which he said his organization has embarked on training people.

Meanwhile, residents of Gola-Konneh District, through their Paramount Chief Momo Thomas, have lauded the efforts of NACUL for the project, which they said is not only beneficial to Weajue Town alone, but the entire District and passersby.

Chief Thomas said the project was the first of its kind for residents in Weajue Town to benefit from such a public latrine despite the presence of many NGOs in the county.

According to Chief Thomas, the project site is referred to as “Pupu Field”, meaning it was being used as an area of open defecation due to the lack of public latrine in the town.

After receiving keys to the latrine, Chief Thomas promised to ensure its proper maintenance, saying, “We are going to meet to see how we can manage this toilet good, good.”

Speaking on behalf Charcoal Producers and Sellers Networks, Mrs. Siah Thomas, Chairperson of the Central Monrovia Charcoal Sellers Association, thanked NACUL for the project, which she said has reinvigorated other network organizations.

Mrs. Thomas said the project also demonstrates charcoalers’ commitment in working with and helping the communities. She said it also indicates that those in the Charcoal sector have a major role in society, calling on people not to overemphasize them.

Representatives from the Christian and Muslim communities, traditional, youth and women groups described the latrine as a relief for them because the area was also called “hold your nose and pass”.

The dedication coincided with NACUL’s first annual assembly, where delegates (representatives from established network organizations in various counties) adopted the group’s draft constitution, deliberated on the future of NACUL, strengthening of network groups and support to the union, among others. They also agreed to contribute towards projects that will be undertaken by any network organizations.

NACUL leadership given power to continue until 2022

Meanwhile, delegates from various network associations, at the end of the assembly, adopted a resolution giving the current leadership of NACUL to continue to steer the affairs of the Union until December 2022. The delegates were mainly chairpersons of charcoal producers and sellers networks.

The delegates, according to the resolution, also mandated the current management team to carry out programs and activities aimed at strengthening NACUL and various networks. They further instructed the management to establish more networks and increase NACUL’s programs across Liberia, among others.

Established in 2004, the Union started as an advocacy group for charcoal producers when they (charcoal producers) were coming under pressure and harassment on numerous occasions.

In 2015, with support from Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), NACUL decided to organize charcoal producers and sellers in various counties as network groups under NACUL for the purpose of bringing them under one umbrella to promote activities and solve problems arising in the sector.

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Nimba CHO Wants National Consultation On Major Health Issues

By Mafanta Kromah

 

Nimba County Health Officer (CHO), Mr. Collins S. Bowah, has spoke of the need to conduct a national conference or consultation to discuss major health issues especially maternal health and other areas of concerns.

Speaking over the weekend at his office in Sanniquellie Nimba County, Bowah noted that introducing such initiative will help get rid of maternal death and give people understanding on areas that need to be improved.

He, however, indicated maternal death in Nimba especially at the G. W. Harlay has decreased due to the system, care and concern given patients at the hospital by the County Health care.

“We have a mechanism called the Maternal Death Audit (MDA), there we validate our work to know where we did well and where we need to improve on,” he indicated.

He maintained that in order to put an end to maternal death, they have put stop to delivery at home by traditional midwives; but they have trained them to take care of these pregnant women at the maternal waiting home before delivery.

He asserted that the service at the only public hospital is free of charge and people from all parts of the county get medication from the hospital with lot of affection, maintenance and alarmed.

He noted that the hospital conducts 135 surgeries every month with no cost, unless when it involves blood, something, he said government does not give blood away to people.

“We have an ambulance system to cover distances to get critical cases; we also have an inter-hospital relationship. When we are unable to reach a place in time due to the distant or bad road condition, we contact the nearby medical center for referral in order to save the life of that person,” Bowah narrated.

The County Health Officer also noted that there are several challenges faced by the institution, especially in the case where many patients come at the hospital at the very critical stage of the sickness, noting on the part of maternal, patients delay in making decision to come to hospital, delay to reach the facility and lack of logistic to reach the center all have impact in the case of death.

He also emphasized on the lack of low qualify doctors, stressing they have only three medical doctors and bad road condition delays them in reaching patients in time.

“Maternal health is not helping women because no free services at hospital, no proper transportation, pregnant women are brought to health center by hammocks and there only free health facility is the government hospital that is located in Sanniquellie and very far from some towns and villages,” Comfort Tokpah of the Concern Women in Ganta noted.

Madam Tokpah called on government to put in more efforts in addressing maternal death, just as she has given women the courage to speak out for themselves. Edited By Fredrick P. W. Gaye

Tear Fund Launches Reports on Ebola, SGBV

The British Charity Tear Fund has launched a qualitative report on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and the Ebola Virus recovery programs.

The report on SGBV reveals that there is still a degree of impunity  for men who perpetrate violence and abuse. The report further discloses that survivors of Sexual Gender Based Violence are still stigmatized in society.

According to the charity report on SGBV, patriarchal norms informed by religion and culture still dominate people’s world views and inform opinions and perspectives on gender relations and SGBV. (Patriarchal norms are accepted with scant consideration of the possibility of any change to the status,” the report indicates.

It stresses the need for faith communities to play a key role in the response to SGBV but their capacity for the task is inadequate.

The report also reveals that incapacity includes the lack of both adequate and up to date theological and theoretical knowledge beyond their church practices and doctrines, and the requisite knowledge of practices and strategies in the gender equality/women‘s rights sector.

The charity asserts that poverty overshadows almost everything else in communities and relegates gender issues to secondary concerns among others.

The charity has   meanwhile forwarded several recommendations aimed at addressing the issues of Sexual Gender Based Violence in Liberia. Amongst them is shifting the dominant negative gender norms that still view men as leaders with women as sub servants, and promoting gender equality gender equality, requires an intervention that focuses on women.

Sexual Gender Based Violence of women and children is primarily a result of the unequal power relationship between men and women.

The charity envisages the intervention for transforming masculinity must be accountable to women’s rights struggle, and promote empowerment programs.

Launching the report, Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell called on partners to coordinate efforts to ensure the fight against Sexual Gender BV is successful.

She said the case of SGBV in Liberia is seriously alarming and there is a need for stakeholders to be proactive in solving the issues of SGBV in Liberia.

Minister Cassell used the occasion to appeal to the Legislature to pass the Domestic Violence Act.

According to her, when the act is passed it would put in place proper measures in the fight against SGBV.

The Gender Minister commended Tear Fund and other partners for the launch of the report describing it as a tool that will give a clear picture of SGBV situation in Liberia.

In a related development, the charity has released a report on Ebola with the aim of establishing the Ebola recovery policies in Liberia.

The Ebola   research report is also intended to evaluate   support received in practical tense by survivors and other affected persons, and record  lessons learned  for recovery periods in future health emergencies.

Speaking at the launch, Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Francis Kateh said the foundation of a good health service delivery is the community.

Dr. Kateh noted that the community has a pivotal role ensuring that they appreciate services rendered them by health workers.

He said if the community appreciates the kind of services , then the issue of resilience in the health will be of paramount concern to the community.

The Deputy Health Minister stressed the need for awareness to be carried out robustly with the aim of educating community members about health services.

Part of the finding released by the charity on Ebola is the producing recovery policies in a timely way , inform  communities of their rights.

The charity also stressed the need for the dissemination of information as possible amongst other key recommendations.

The launch brought together several international partners, local groups amongst others.

 

(Edited By Fredrick P. W. Gaye)

 

WAHO Hosts Regional Meeting On Post-Ebola

By Mafanta Kromah

The West African Health Organization (WAHO) on Monday April 10, 2017 held a high level meeting. Held  at the Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville outside Monrovia, the gathering was aimed at emphasizing on the status of implementation of the decision of the heads of states and governments on the prevention, detection and control of Ebola.

The meeting also emphasized on the status of resource mobilization and partnership on the prevention, detection and epidemic control and also status of the implementation of perspectives and challenges of the  Abuja Deceleration and status of the implementation of resilient plans and perspectives of the three affected post Ebola countries.

Speaking during the meeting, Dr. Xavier CresPin, Director General of WAHO noted that the objective of the regional meeting is to access key decision and put in place a national committee to unite them as one.

He said the meeting discussed how to involve other sectors including the Agriculture and among others, noting they have money in their fund but it is not sufficient enough to achieve their target.

Dr. CresPin explained that they have sent 150 medical staffs from the 15 countries for advanced knowledge in improving the health system in the various countries.

At the same time, the Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, said that the recent experience from the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) reminds and challenges them of being at risk to any disease outbreak, something she said needs to be adequately prepared.

She said disease threat in any of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a threat to all including the international community, stressing, “the existing inadequacies in our health system also reminds us that we are all vulnerable and thus, shared vulnerability requires shared responsibility including sharing resources, expertise and information.” “We should work tediously to achieve this in our region,” she said.

Dr. Dahn indicated that the recommendation from the IHR Joint External Evaluation and the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to prepare, detect and respond rapidly and effectively to the disease outbreak, multi hazard threats and others humanitarian emergencies will be built and developed through the capacities of Liberia and its partners.

In addition, she stressed that Liberia recognizes the on-going work within the ECOWAS to improve prevention, detection and response with support of key technical and donor partners.

In her conclusion statement, she commended representatives from the 15 countries for  their active participation in the important meeting and hope that the meeting will provide unique opportunity to generate, concrete result that will be realistic and readily implementable to improve preparedness, detection and response in the EVD affected countries and in all states of ECOWAS.

Meanwhile, Dr. Momodou Horouna of WAHO thanked Liberia and members for organizing the meeting and allowing them to meet and discuss issues about the improvement of the health sector of the 15 countries. He also thanked participants for the effort put in place for rebuilding their health system.

(Edited by Fredrick P. W. Gaye)

WHO Highlights Depression At World Health Day Celebration

By Mafanta Kromah

Liberia on today April 7, 201, joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Health Day with the theme: “Depression, Let’s Talk” to draw attention to the global burden of this common mental disorder.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism in Monrovia, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said three hundred twenty-two million people around the world are affected by depression as it is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease in the African region.

“We are all at risk: it effects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. Stigma and fear of socialization are significant barriers to seeking help; there’s an urgent need to prevent and treat those affected by this serious and complex mental health condition,” he stressed.

Moeti noted that early recognition of the symptoms is key to preventing depression from becoming a chronic illness.

He called on countries to support mental health program by allocating adequate human and financial resources to respond to growing burden.

He noted that individuals, families and communities can take steps to help prevent depression by avoiding stressful situation, alcohol abuse and drug use.

WHO defines depression as an illness characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest and ability to perform daily activities for a period of over two weeks.

He noted that depression can also lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally as well as varies by age, peaking in older adults aged 55-74 years, but also occurring in children and adolescents. If left untreated, depression can be recurrent, long-lasting and debilitating.

He maintained that it impairs an individual’s ability to copy with daily activities, and can have devastating consequences for relationships with families and friends.

The African region has a critical shortage of qualified professionals for mental health, with just one psychiatrist per one million people and a similar number of psychologists.

The mental health workforce of psychiatric nurses, occupational therapist and social workers is woefully inadequate.

 

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Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara Applauds U.S. for Support to Liberia

Liberia’s foreign minister, Madam Marjon V. Kamara, says the Government and people of Liberia are grateful to the Government and people of the United States for the wide range of assistance the U.S. is providing Liberia. Read more

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FOJ Hosts Seminar For Urban Women ..Prepares for 2017 Elections Showdown

By: Yassah J. Wright/0880645821

 

Scores of urban women gathered at a one day leadership training seminar organized by the National Women Congress of the friends of Dr. J. Mill Jones (FOJ) in collaboration with the Montserrado county chapter at the sport commission on Friday, September, 9, 2016, under the theme: “The role of women in the impending 2017 general elections.

The seminar brought together over 250 urban women leaders trained in various life skills and also ways of propagating the vision and aspirations of Dr. Jones to the effect that it resonates with consciences of the masses of the Liberian people.

Speaking at the occasion, the National Youth Chairman of FOJ, Evans R. Bryant, said for several decades, Liberians have lived in abject poverty, experienced bad governance, political exclusion and foreign domination of their national economy and resources to redeem them from the odds that has become an ultimate importance.

“The economy empowerment of Liberians is an idea whose time has come; women are very important and they need to rise up and play major roles in traversing the crushing layers of Liberia’s democratic system during the era of economic deprivation, nepotism, exclusion and corruption, which appears to be growing space and no longer confirmed to their borders,” said the FOJ Youth Chairman.

He disclosed that group of Liberians from diversified sectors of the society came together to form the “friends of Dr. Jones” as a political sorority that will serve as the vehicle to champion the needs and aspirations of Liberians.

Bryant cautioned youth: “ Do not use your today to eat your tomorrow; being useful during electioneering period. The 2017 general and presidential should be an issue based, people should vote beyond party lines; beyond tribal lines and beyond religious lines and fraternity.

The FOJ Youth leader reckoned that the time has come for Liberians to choose a potential national leader on the basis of proven leadership abilities embedded with the requisite experience, high moral rectitude, character credential, academic astuteness and propinquity with the masses of the Liberian people.

Bryant said friends of Dr. Jones strappingly believed that their political leader has the proven ability and excellent brainpower to revive the nation from the existing state of backwardness, the shackles of underdevelopment and massive corruption.

He continued: “Dr. Jones vowed during his response to petitions from across the 73 districts of Liberia that he is prepared to take difficult decisions necessary to put the country on the path of transformation, the idea of collective responsibility that will make Liberia more prosperous and also reconcile the country.

He said women should pursue fundamental principles and objectives as they endeavor a break with the past and increase awareness and sensitize citizens about the enviable leadership credentials of Dr. Jones and his vision for Liberia.

In addition, the National Vice Chair for Administration of the women congress of FOJ, Sarah Y. Cummings said the one day leadership workshop is squarely intended to build the capacity of the women to reach out, mobilize, concentrate, rationalize, coordinate and consolidate the ongoing activities across the 73 districts clearly propagate the party’s vision to local communities.

Cummings said, the national women congress of the FOJ is a main-stream political action group nationally agreed upon and geared towards uniting Liberians to hold together under the canopy of fraternal solidarity to overwhelmingly elect Dr. Jones in 2017as president of the Republic of Liberia, stressing the need to engage all sectors of Liberia and sensitize electorates about the increasing imperativeness to achieve their overall ambition.

 

Floodgate At NEC?

 

The Executive Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Lamin Lighe, at the expenditure hearing of the budget on Wednesday, disclosed that funds collected for political parties and candidates’ registrations sit in an escrow account at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as the commission seeks additional funding.

Asked by Representative Julius Berrian as to what NEC does with funds collected from political parties and candidates’ registration, Executive Director Lighe informed the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget and the Public Account Committee (PAC) that the account is being controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning

But responding to the question, Deputy Minister for Revenue, Dr. James Kollie, noted that the funds from the escrow account are sometimes sent to consolidated account or sometimes released to the NEC for pressing pertinent matters.

However, the NEC or MFDP could not further elaborate as to how much is in the escrow account or how many dollars have been withdrawn from that account thus prompting pundits and some lawmakers to describe the situation as “fishy.”

Executive Director Lighe said the NEC needs 45.6million for the upcoming 2017 Elections and the Government of Liberia is expected to provide US23million dollars while there are commitments of US7.1million.

He also indicated within  2016-17, the commission needs about 2.9million for voter and civic education. The NEC Executive Director further said the NEC can no longer afford to postpone the process, because doing so would hamper the entire process because election is timing.

Lighe is therefore calling on the Committee to speedily pass the budget and also ensure to increase the commission’s funding so as to enable them smoothly execute the election process.

In 2005, the NEC submitted an annual budget to the Budget Bureau for consideration and approval. Upon approval of the budget, funds were paid in a timely manner, according to the planned expenditure, into an account established by the NEC. International donor support was critical in both the 2005 and 2011 national elections. While the NEC has not published its 2011 elections report, the estimated 2010–11 budget was over USD 38 million, of which over US 27 million dollars (70 per cent) came from international donors.

During the 2010–11 electoral cycles, funds from gender mainstreaming projects were intermittently redirected to processes regarded as more critical to the success of the national elections, such as voter registration, poll worker training and technology acquisitions.

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Man Commits Suicide …Eyewitness Alleged “Unbearable” Economic Situation

By: Mafanta Kromah

 

A man only identified as Boakai has reportedly committed suicide on Warren Street due to the difficulties experienced during  past months and that his shattered life has become unbearable, said eyewitness on the crime scene.

The late Boakai, according to eyewitnesses, the deceased was a car loader on Broad Street until his death.

A close associate of Boakai, only identified as Joe, who is also a car loader was quoted as saying that “He and I had breakfast this morning and he told me that he’s tired with life and cannot continue anymore.”

He revealed that murmurs from the late Boakai during the last two months hinted that his father haven’t send him anything since then, but said he persuaded the deceased not to worry because they can bear whatever difficulties they faced.

Also speaking about the deceased, another colleague, John Paye, revealed that the late Boakai and other friends were  close associates and they bought “cigarette and grass” to smoke.

He divulged that the late Boakai committed suicide out of frustration and also attributed his demise to protracted chest problem he suffered, eulogizing that his deceased colleague was courteous to people in the area and had lived in his “shanty hole” for more than six years and that his action was allegedly due to the obstruction in his life.