Health


News from The Informer (Monrovia)

Liberia: 10,000 to Benefit From New Clinic in Kokoya District
D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh
7 April 2010

The Kokoya Administrative District, Bong County, is poised to host a modern clinic that will serve at least 10,000 people for the first time in the district’s history.

Thousands of Liberians living in the district do not have any health facilities to run to during emergencies or when they get sick.

Scores of them die from common curable diseases, not to mention women who die from labor.

The district has never have a health facility and people in need of medication have to hike for at least 25 to 30 kilometer to see a nurse, physician assistant or a medical doctor.

Those who are too old or have no relative to cater to them are left to die in their homes, when they get sick or when traditional herbs fail to heal them, an elderly residents claim.

However, the malady will soon be over, bringing smiles on the faces of the people, when the Rock Crusher Clinic is built and open for service few months hence.

Being constructed at the cost of a little over US$71,000, the Clinic will contain eight rooms for screening, consulting, testing and lab, among others.

It is being built with the County Development Fund as injected in the Bong’s County Development Agenda, the County’s health program and as part of the Millennium Development Village project, officials say.

Touring the recently on a two-day visit to the county, the Deputy Coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction Development Committee (LRDC), James Kollie, expressed delight.

Mr. Kollie described the project as a “positive step” towards meeting the health needs of the people and realizing the goals of the CDA.

As part of decentralizing development, each county, under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government has its listed development priories – the CDA, as desired by the people themselves.

Mr. Kollie and officials of the LRDC – a bureau seated in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs responsible to monitor implementation of the PRS – initiated the tour and meetings to evaluate the impacts of the CDF on the people of Bong.

Besides, the visit which took the team to Rock Crusher was also intended to identify challenges in implementing projects under the CDF, and to get feedback from the people on what should be done in the next planning stage that will ward off most of the challenges currently being experienced.

“The construction of this clinic and the idea behind the construction of this clinic came from the County Development Fund of the Kokoya District development action plan,” Mr. Francis Kempeh, a UNDP county development consultant assigned at the Liberia’s Millennium Village project in Kokoya District, said.

“It is indeed a priority by the community…they have been cooperating with the workers and we hope that they can take ownership of it,” Kempeh, who lead the LRDC delegation to the site, disclosed.

Construction started last October and will be completed in the next couple of months.

“There is no clinic or health facility around here. People get health services about 25 to 30 kilometer away, and the construction of this clinic here will bring great relief to thousands of people,” the UNDP consultant said.

There are three administrative districts (Boinsen, Tukpahblee and Kokoya) in Kokoya Statutory District, with a population of 22, 826, according to the 2008 National Housing and Population Census.

Both Boinsen and Tukpahblee have health facilities. With the completion of the one under construction in Rock Crusher, the statutory district will have been at least served with some level of health care delivery.

The development would be registered as a score under the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) – the Government’s overall vision and major strategies for moving toward rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth and development during the period 2008-2011.

The PRS is being implemented between April 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 at the cost of $1.61bn with four major pillars including enhancing Peace and National Security, Governance and the Rule of Law, Economic Revitalization and Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services.

Health care and delivery is under the fourth pillar: Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services. Contact: 231 6 586 531; dakasen1978@yahoo.com.

Copyright © 2010 The Informer. All rights reserved.

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This story appeared in The Informer (Monrovia):

 Liberia: RTP Organizes Play Day for 740 Kids in Harper
Lewis S. Verdier, II
9 September 2009

Right To Play (RTP) Liberia over the weekend organized a Play Day for 740 children in Harper City, Maryland County, with a call on parents to respect and protect the rights of children.

The Play Day was the second largest collection of children of all time in the city, according to RTP officials. The play at Tobeyville Township, New Kru Town, was conducted by volunteer coaches of the organization.

Many citizens were overwhelmed, as they stood nearby observing the children, describing sports and play as unifiers.

The project coordinator of the organization, Mr. Sampson Dolo, told The Informer that RTP is promoting the concepts sports and play for development, and to educate children on their rights and responsibilities.

He said the government had played a positive role in enhancing the efforts of RTP to implement its activities. RTP, he said, anticipates more cooperation and collaborative efforts, as it works in the interest of children in the country.

The 740 children were provided caps that displayed information on child protection, to parents and stakeholders, that children have rights and that these rights have to be respected at home and at schools.

Mr. Dolo urged the children to be obedient and learn to respect their parents that they may be blessed and educated. Besides playing, he urged the children to help parents at home and be hard working.

A volunteer coach Stephen Picka applauded RTP for the work, and said he, too, has learned a lot while volunteering. He said “Volunteering for your community and country means you are a nation builder”. He has been an RTP volunteer for two years.

One of the children, Pauline Toe, said she enjoyed football of all the sporting activities, saying, “Football makes her feels happy.”

Copyright © 2009 The Informer.

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Polio Resurfaces in Liberia
Updated: August 12, 2009 – 9:44am
News Section:Community News

5 Counties Fall Prey, Others Threatened

[photo] Boy with polio (Courtesy WHO) 

By: Stephen Binda
MONROVIA – Liberia’s health authorities have announced that the dangerous disease, polio, has resurfaced in the country.

Five of the country’s 15 counties have already been affected according to the Ministry of Health, a total of eight cases having been confirmed in Bomi, Montserrado, Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh.

On Tuesday, World Health Organization (WHO) representatives accompanied Liberian Ministry of Health officials to the Capitol Building in Monrovia, where they met with members of the National Legislature to sound the alarm on the re-emergence of the disease in the country.

Addressing the plenary of the Liberian Senate Tuesday, Acting Program Manager for the Expended Program on Immunization at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Thomas Nagbe, said the re-emergence of the virus in Liberia was a worrisome situation for the country.

The health authorities, who sought funding in the amount of US$380,000 to combat the disease, told the legislators that the situation had an emergency nature that warranted swift action.

They made it emphatically clear that if the situation was not addressed with care and a sense of urgency, the polio virus would, in a short span of time, spread to other parts of the country.

They attributed the re-emergence of the virus to many factors among which was the inflow of people from foreign countries, particularly from neighboring states where the disease remains active.

Liberia is bordered to the North by the Republic of Guinea, to the East by Ivory Coast, to the West by Sierra Leone and on the South by the Atlantic Ocean.

The Liberian health authorities named the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and the Republic of Guinea as countries in the West African sub-region where they said the prevailing rate of the disease remained high.

“People leaving and coming into Liberia, using our borders by way of either Ivory Coast or Guinea, are some of the root causes of the recurrence of the virus in Liberia,” Nagbe told the Senate Tuesday.

He said current data clearly showed that there were eight confirmed cases of the virus in Liberia with people in five counties being affected.

Nagbe listed Bomi, Montserrado, Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh as counties currently ‘saturated’ with the epidemic.

Bomi, Montsorrado and Grand Gedeh have recorded one case each, Maryland County two, and River Gee County is handling three cases, he informed the Senate.

He divulged that plans had been finalized by the MOH to launch a nationwide polio eradication campaign which would be held from August 14 through August 18.

During the campaign, Nagbe explained, children under the age of five years would be vaccinated free of charge so as to arrest the rapid spread of the disease in the country.

According to the health authorities, the Ivory Coast had registered at least 21 confirmed cases of polio, Guinea 15, while Nigeria had reported 360 cases.

It may be recalled that POLIOMYELITIS (infantile paralysis) has been eradicated from nearly every country in the world since the approval for use of the Salk (1955) and Sabin (1962) vaccines. The WHO said no more than 1,500 cases of acute poliomyelitis had been reported in 2001.

The number of countries in which polio is endemic dropped from 20 in 2001 to 10 at the beginning of 2002. The WHO target date for declaring the world polio-free was 2005.

A few years ago, Liberia was certificated after the disease, which had caused disabilities predominantly in children, was declared eradicated from the country’s population of more than three million.

The organization estimates that there are 20 million people worldwide with some degree of disability caused by poliomyelitis. A 1996 National Center for Health Statistics survey reported a preliminary estimate of one million survivors in the United States. About 450,000 of them reported paralysis resulting in some form of impairment.

For years most of these polio survivors lived active lives, their memory of polio long forgotten, their health status stable. By the late ’70s, polio survivors were noting new problems of fatigue, pain, and additional weakness.

By the mid 80s, health professionals and policy makers recognized these new problems as being real and not ‘only in the patients’ minds.’ Studies on this phenomenon called ‘post-polio syndrome’ have been and are still being conducted in research institutions and medical centers.

Survivors of poliomyelitis may experience symptoms that include unaccustomed fatigue – either rapid muscle tiring or feeling of total body exhaustion and new weakness in muscles. Both those originally affected and those seemingly unaffected, have pain in muscles and/or joints, sleeping problems, breathing difficulties, swallowing problems, decreased ability to tolerate cold temperatures, decline in ability to conduct customary daily activities such as walking, bathing, etc. These general symptoms are experienced in varying degrees, and their progression can be insidious.

0Copyright Liberian Observer – All Rights Reserved. This article cannot be re-published without the expressed, written consent of the Liberian Observer. Please contact us for more information or to request publishing permission.

Copyright 2009 | Liberian Observer Online | www.LiberianObserver.com

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We do not have explicit permission to use this story, but claim fair use.  All credit goes to the good work of the Liberian Observer and Stephen Binda.

Health Ministry Reacts To Malaria Story

The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) has sharply reacted to a back page lead story published in the Thursday, July 30 edition of the Analyst Newspaper under the caption: Malaria Outbreak in Lofa-about 100 patients treated daily.” In a statement issued today in Monrovia, the NMCP described are report as not only baseless, but lacks any iota of truth. The statement quotes the NMCP Manager, Dr. Joel Jones as saying that the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare is in constant contact with the two hospitals in Voinjama and Zorzor, Lofa County and that there is no report of outbreak of malaria in the country as was erroneously reported by the paper.

Dr. Jones said the story was grossly unprofessional in that such a “serious outbreak” as claimed by the paper, did not quote any individual or medical doctor in the health sector either in Lofa or Monrovia to verify the purported report.

The NMCP boss challenged the report and called on the paper to immediately retract the story or risk being complained to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for the unprofessional and careless conduct in the discharge of its duty.

©2005 – 2009 The Inquirer Online

—In-the-News—

50-million dollar contract signed in Health sector     
Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.    
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 
STAR RADIO

USAID and government through the Health Ministry have signed over 50 million US Dollars contracts to cater to the country’s healthcare delivery system.

USAID is the United States Agency for International Development.

The contracts are under USAID’s Rebuilding   Basic Health Services program.

USAID Mission Director Pamela White who signed for her agency said the contract would initially cover a five-year period.

Madam White told Star Radio the five year program would seek to improve operations and ensure delivery of the ministry’s basic package for health.

It would be implemented in some one hundred fourteen clinics in seven counties.

The counties include Bomi, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba, and River Gee.

The USAID Boss said the initiative represents a critical new step in the reconstruction of the health system of Liberia that would benefit over one million people.

Deputy Health Minister Bernice Dahn who signed for government thanked USAID for the initiative.

NGO frowns at condition of rural children     
Written by Hilary Vasco Wiagbe    
Thursday, 07 May 2009 
STAR RADIO

A non-governmental organization says living and education conditions for children in rural Liberia are still deplorable.

An official of the group told Star Radio a survey conducted in Grand Kru County shows that students are still sitting on bare floors in classrooms. 
Mr. Theophilus Nimene said most of the schools experience the lack of instructional materials and shortage of teachers.

He observed it was unfortunate that a segment of the Liberian children are enjoying basic social services, while others continue to live under difficult conditions.

Mr. Nimene also said in this modern age, people in Jloa and Jloh Statutory Districts are still fetching drinking water from the creeks.

He called on government to decentralize its development activities to benefit all Liberians, regardless of their locations. 

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Invading army-worms enter major border town
Written by Clarence Jackson
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
STAR RADIO

Report reaching Star Radio says invading armyworms have attacked a major town along the Liberia-Guinea border.

The Chief Medical Officer of Bong County told Star Radio, the armyworms numbering several million have invaded Lawein Town forcing residents to flee.

Dr. Garfee Williams said ten of the ninety-six houses in Lawein Town have been abandoned and people were seeking refuge on farms untouched by the pests.

According to Dr. Garfee the caterpillars are climbing the walls of houses and taking over rice farms in the area.

The Bong County Chief Medical Officer said of the affected towns and villages Lawein was the worst hit with creeks and wells badly contaminated.

Dr. Garfee recommends a massive aerial spraying exercise to rid central Liberia of armyworms.

Also, government has appealed for concerted international efforts to combat the swarm of armyworms that have invaded central Liberia.

Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe said the extent of the damage being caused by the pests requires the help of all international partners.

Minister Toe told Star Radio helicopters were urgently needed to carry out aerial spraying of places attacked by the worm-like caterpillars.

Dr. Toe also appealed for motorized sprayers in order to spray treetops that have been permanently seized by the caterpillars.

On Tuesday Government launched a minimum effort using Knapsack sprayers to combat the swarm of armyworms.

The Ministry of Agriculture has deployed more than thirty technicians in the affected areas to spray the surrounding bushes with insecticides.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has warned residents of Zota and Suakoko Districts not to eat dead chickens during its ten-day operation in the districts.

According to agricultural experts the insecticides currently being applied remains active for seven days before disintegrating.

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