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Lawmaker Troubled Over High Fees At Public Health Facilities

By Abraham Moris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

Grand Bassa County Senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Gender and Social Protection, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, is craving plenary indulgence to ensure that the Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice Dahn and Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh, be invited in a public hearing to provide clarity on the health status of the country and also state as to why x-ray machines are not found in the various regional and referral hospitals.

In a communication to plenary dated August 10, 2015, Senator Lawrence said due to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country and the vulnerability of the country’s health sector, many donors were attracted to the country and have been raising huge amounts of money to help Liberia.

She also wants plenary to inquire from the Chief Medical Officer as to why money is raised and donated for free health care but and money is being collected by the John F. Kennedy  (JFK) Medical hospital and other public health facilities around the country.

“I Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence have paid over US$500.00 (five hundred United States dollars) to release a patient at JFK, including other amounts paid to the JFK and other government health institutions,” she explained.

According to her, as much as she supports free health care, there is a need to define what free health care delivery is and what should be paid at government health facilities, so as to remove financial burden on ordinary Liberians or divert those funds being generated to government revenue for the improvement of the facilities and also provide the necessary services needed.

Senator Lawrence continued: “Today, all regional/major hospitals in the country do not have x-ray machines, the most needed and cheapest medical equipment. Drugs are never available; patients have to purchase almost everything before treatment, because the there is a claim that the revenue envelope is small to do more.”

“Therefore, Dr. Kateh should be invited for an open public hearing to tell us how well the free medical program is working in the country’s health sector,” the communication noted.

The Grand Bassa County Senator recalled that on August 6, 2015, the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives to pass the 2015/16 National Budget. And in that budget, a total of US$72 million has been allocated for MOH which is 12 percent of the entire budget mostly covering salaries.

But instead of inviting the two Ministers, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff recommended that the Committee on Health, Gender and Social Protection, headed by Senator Peter Coleman invite the Minister and her Deputy in committee room to investigate the issues at bar and report to plenary in a week time; a decision that received unanimous endorsement.


LEDI Appreciates Ebola Fighter -Provides Assistance

The United States-based Liberia Economic Development Initiative (LEDI) has concluded providing monetary assistance to several medical institutions in Liberia in appreciation of the beneficiaries’ heroic fight against and defeat of Ebola.

The Liberia Economic Development Initiative is a Cleveland, Ohio based nonprofit organization seeking to reduce poverty and change lives in Liberia. The primary objective of the organization is to build modern state-of-the-art public libraries across Liberia to improve the educational sector as well as the general economy because an educated workforce is a basis of a sound economy.

LEDI is also currently providing scholarships to impoverished students within the country. LEDI is undertaking a holistic approach by focusing on building and supplying healthcare facilities, supporting small businesses, building and supplies schools, etc.

Organizations that benefited from the LEDI medical assistance delivered late July 2015 include the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Samaritan Purse, Redemption Hospital and James Davis Hospitals. Others are Jaw Community Clinic, THT Clinic, Star of the Sea, Barnersville Clinic, among others.

In delivering the funds, the LEDI Liberian staffers commended the Liberian medical organizations for their various outstanding works during the Ebola crisis. They described the clinics and hospitals as true heroes and encouraged them to remain defensive and protective of Liberian populace who are always vulnerable to medical challenges.

In response, the organizations variously commended LEDI and its donors for recognizing their medical works in Liberia and for the cash donations provided.

The administrators of the medical institutions that received the monetary assistance thanked LEDI and collaborating donor institutions for standing with the Liberian people in their time of need. They said such compassionate assistance from organizations within the “US is an indication that we are our brothers and sisters keepers, despite where we live.”

“We are appreciative of this contribution from LEDI and those who contributed to it,” said Proprietor of the Jaw Community Clinic. “We see this as relieving and particularly patriotic because thinking about us in this corner is an indication for love of country.”

Speaking to reporters upon receipt of report of the full implementation of the LEDI Medical Mission, Mr. Rufus Darkotey, President of LEDI, said the donations were in partnership with many USA based organizations, including the Cleveland State University (CSU), the Margaret Wong and Associates Law firm, among others. He said the organization is delighted to stand by the people of Liberia in the fight to eradicate the deadly Ebola disease from Liberia.

According to his official newsletter to the CSU community, Dr. Ronald Berkman, President of CSU, said even from 5,000 miles away, we can help. He therefore brought the CSU community together to aid institutions and individuals in the country who are facing the deadly Ebola virus.

Mr. Rufus Darkortey indicated that every Liberian felt the impact of the deadly Ebola virus, irrespective of their geographical location at the moment. “This created a dire desire to do something to save lives. That is why LEDI galvanized the financial resources from the United States to help the vital medical institutions that supported the Ebola fight,” he said.

“Though the organization is based in the United States, its primary focus is to help reduce poverty and change lives in Liberia,” he said, thanking the CSU, Margaret Wong and Associates, the Board of Directors, staff, and donors of LEDI, and other institutions for raising the needed funds for the medical institutions here in Liberia.

The LEDI leader also thanked the people of Liberia and the stakeholders, including the government, local and international organizations for helping to eradicate the virus from the country.


Soniwein To Get New Drainage ….Humanitarian Embarks On Project

By: Roland Davis-0776107962

Residents of Soniwein Community in District #8,  Montserrado County, have begun the construction of  a new drainage in their community which is being funded by a humanitarian and a Liberia businessman Ishmael Sheriff alias ‘Tamba The Mayonnaise.’

Mr. Sheriff is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of “My Owned Incorporated,” a Liberian owned business entity.

Speaking to journalists at the project site on Monday, July 10, 2015, the Secretary General and Project Coordinator of Soniwein Community, Adolphus A. Kiazolu, said the construction of the new drainage in the community is intended to prevent water from entering their homes during heavy down pour of rain.

According to him, Soniwein Community already has drainage but it is in a serious bad condition that needs reconstruction.

Mr. Kiazolu indicated that the community is currently facing serious challenges when it comes to good sanitation and other basic health services, something he claimed residents of the community have suffered from for many years.

“I am glad to see Mr. Sheriff coming in our community to help us build a new drainage to help the community and its residents because we have suffered from this problem for long period of time now,” Mr. Kiazolu further noted.

He emphasized that the construction of the new drainage in the community is being funded by Mr. Sheriff because some residents of the community wrote a letter for assistance in order to help build a drainage that will help them during the Rainy Season.

Mr. Kiazolu commended Mr. Sheriff for his level of humanitarian services to the people of Soniwein.

He then called on other residents of the community to join those currently carrying on the construction of the exercise in making sure that the project is successfully completed.


Quarantined Community

Residents of Neidonwen Town, a community highly hit by Ebola-hit in Margibi County, where 17 year- old Abraham Memeigar was diagnosed with the disease have expressed frustration over the manner in which they were being treated by the Ministry of Health and its partners when they were quarantined.

The Neidonwen residents expressed frustration Wednesday, August 5, 2015, when the Liberian Media for Democratic Initiative (LMDI) held a public dialogue forum with them to understand the plight of the people, the recent Ebola outbreak, funds given and materials used to combat the disease.

Speaking during the dialogue, Neidonwen Youth Chairman, Abraham Garway, said during the outbreak and quarantine period, they were asked to remain at their various homes with an assurance of providing basic food items and other needs during the 21 days period, but unfortunately, he said the promise was reportedly unfulfilled by relevant authorities.

Residents explained that on several occasions, their names were written and tallied for food rations and preventive materials by the Health Ministry and other international organizations, but indicated that food and supplies were never given as promised.

However, in reaction, the Community Health Officer of Neidonwen, Miatta Massaquoi, said several food and materials were distributed to the affected persons and family of deceased 17-year old Abraham Memeigar because they were directly quarantined.

According to her, the entire village was never quarantined, noting that they should not have provided food rations to everyone because the entire town was not quarantined and besides, the rations were distributed by international non- governmental organizations and not the Ministry of Health.

It can be recalled that health authorities announced a new confirmed Ebola case in Margibi County in June this year. The head of Liberia’s Incident Management System Tolbert Nyenswah said Abraham Memeigar, a 17-year-old boy who died on Sunday, June 28 at his father’s residence in Unification City was Ebola- related.

Nyenswah said specimens extracted from the victim were confirmed Ebola positive following meticulous medical tests. He said about 28 persons were quarantined for being in direct contact with Memeigar before his death.


Action Aid Ends Validation W/shop

By: Precious Gaye/0886539331/pgaye2042@gmail.com

Empowering through awareness to influence policies, Action Aid has concluded a two- day workshop in Monrovia.

Following a month- long assessment done in ten communities in Monsterrado, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Grand Cape Mount Counties on the effects of (EVD), over forty participants gathered at Sharks’ Entertainment Center in Sinkor on August 7-8 to submit a valid Post-Ebola recovery plan.

Speaking at the program, Action Aid Country Director, Korto Williams said: “We have members of communities, representations of the government, Media, women group, civil societies; when we share our ideas, [whenever] there is a conflict that affects our country. We will be in a position to respond and not have a high death toll.”

With an aim to advocate for policies, Madam Williams added: “We are trying to reach a citizen chart.”

Day two was marked by presentations done by four groups on policies reviewed such as the National Disaster Management Policy, National Health and Social Welfare Policy, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) 2012-2017 and the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan.

Subsequently, participants concluded on the need for better analysis of policy documents, with the involvement of experts, getting the media to disseminate and simplify in other forms of communication, and create a platform to engage stakeholders.

In appreciation of the program,   Head of the National Rural Women Group in Margibi County, Esther Clarke, acknowledged: “Action Aid has been to our county to carry out [awareness]; they empower us by training us, though we were not part of the Ebola response.”

Madam Clarke also stressed: “This exercise should be implemented, we should not only [attend] workshops to add our voices after we [leave] everything [ends], we expect it to work.”

At the close of the program, assuring Action Aid’s commitment, Head of Programme and Policy, Laskshmi Moore, remarked: “We are building capacity of community around understanding policies. We know communities were not [informed] about existing policies and technical gaps around that.”

Founded in 1972, Action Aid works with local partners in over 45 countries, helping more than 15 million impoverished and disadvantaged people. Its head office is located in South Africa.


GBA Fosters Unity

By: David S. Johnson/dsavid41@gmail.com / Intern

A newly founded youth-based organization in the Sophie Community, called Golden Bird Association (GBA), has vowed to foster unity among community members.

GBA, through its Chairman on Mobilization, Arthur Holder, said it will carry out the exercise by creating awareness on issues, including teenage pregnancy, harmful substances and other vices that pose danger to the society.

In an interview with the In Profile Daily on Saturday,  Holder said the organization intends to venture into awareness and counselling on teenage pregnancy and enlightening youths on being positive.

The GBA Mobilization Chairman noted that the organization was founded on July 12, 2014 with the aim  of promoting and scouting youthful talents as well as creating unity within the community and its surroundings.

According to him, one of the organization’s targets is the issue of tackling HIV/AIDs through awareness; which is one of the most prevalent sicknesses among young people.

Holder named another challenge confronting young people as  harmful drugs’ consumption by young people; something he noted the organization has been working to mitigate.

The GBA Mobilization Chairman also said if youth in the community are not properly educated to the effects of harmful drugs’ usage as well as the danger teenage pregnancy poses to young women, they will become addicted to such harmful substances thus impeding girls’ educational and social status.

Drug usage, he stressed, “starts with the individual and spreads through influence to other youths in the community as such, the organization seeks to give out free counselling to youths who are constantly involved with these negative practices.”

He continued: “It would be of importance if a fellow youth is helping in the process of mobilizing, counselling and creating awareness on important issues which seek to attract another youth into listening.”

Also speaking, the President of GBA, Mayango Sinnatuah, expressed frustration that the organization is not being supported by other well-meaning Liberians despite these meaningful contributions. “Rather, we are depending on internal source for income generations,” he said.

Sinnatuah also said: “The entire finance for this organization is being generated from the members through voluntary donations and dues.”

The GBA President also informed the In Profile Daily that though they have sent out several letters for support to organizations within the community and its environs, there hasn’t been any reply.

Sinnatuah said the organization is hoping to reduce illiteracy among youth in the community through awareness on the prevention of Human Immune Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs) and its prevention.

He said they are anticipating the help of other organizations to help in buttressing their initiatives and further encouraged other communities to initiate programs that will empower youth for a brighter future.

Meanwhile, youths in the community have expressed satisfaction for the establishment of the organization which they said is fostering unity among them.

Plan To Combat SGBV, Harmful Traditional Practices Disclosed

By: Roland Davis-0776107962

The Government of Liberia and the United Nations Joint Programming Initiative to Prevent and Response to issues Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Harmful Traditional Practices in Liberia have designed a five- year strategic plan to deal with such situations in Liberia.

The five- year strategic plan program will run from July 2015 to July 2020, according to organizers.

This plan was disclosed at a meeting held recently at the RLJ Hotel, outside Monrovia, organized by UN Women in Liberia, facilitated by the Liberian Government and other UN agencies.

The meeting was aimed at finding a way forward for the implementation of the program in Liberia for the next five years, organizers indicated.

Giving  an overview of the strategic plan during the meeting, one of the facilitators, Patricia Jallah Scott, said the  plan is a proposal designed by the government and UN agencies intended to help build around a community-based approach, supported by five strategic pillars to prevent, response to SGBV cases and the issue of harmful traditional practices, particularly for Liberian girls.

Madam Scott indicated that the strategic plan is to also provide basic approach to the prevention, response to   survivor needs, safety, and protection in education, institutional strengthening and visibility or mass mobilization campaign against SGBV and harmful traditional practices in the country.

She noted that the program will help in protecting Liberian girls, including school- going population of the country, but called on the general public to collectively support the implementation of the program.

Madam Scott said the strategic plan has also been designed through a developed approach in local and consultative approach, including community dialogues conducted in ten of the fifteen counties of the country.

She said this was intended as a means of ensuring that the SGBV joint program builds on community solutions, informed by a robust context specific analysis of needs, based on communities’ knowledge and existing protection strategies, as well as disaggregated understanding of the diverse threats and opportunities within Liberia.

Madam Scott also noted that the approach was also intended to provide legal or policy analysis as well as institutional reviews to identify legal and policy enablers and the institutional readiness and capacity; a mapping of actors as an opportunity to strengthen synergies and avoid overlaps and duplication.

Meanwhile, also at the meeting, the organizers disclosed an estimated amount of US$50m as budget to be used for the implementation of the program in five years.

The meeting brought together several organizations, including government agencies, civil society groups, traditional council, UNDP, local media entities, WHO, UN Women, UNHCR, UNMIL,  UNFPA, among others.

The project is also facilities by the Ministry of Gender and Development, The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Information Cultural, Affairs and Tourism and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.