News from The Analyst

Liberia: FIND Intervenes in Rural Area
21 August 2009

Most residents of rural Liberia are greatly benefiting from the gracious intervention of the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND), giving them better understanding and insight of governance, rule of law and other related issues that have to do with how government works and their rights as provided in the constitution.

FIND with funding from Trust Africa and Humanity United has been engaged with efforts aimed at building the capacity of rural dwellers to enable them engage their national leaders whenever they are not performing to expectations, and to give them the bastion to advocate for themselves.

THe group said the essence of engaging rural dwellers has many angles, but primarily is to give them the opportunity to speak for themselves, speak out on issues that tend to shape their community, society and life.

On Wednesday, FIND’s National Program Officer, Roosevelt Woods, held a press conference to provide an update on their current engagements with rural dwellers and what they hope to obtain from reaching to the people in faraway places, who have got no immediate access to national issues. FIND, he said, is more or less focused on how it can build the capacity of rural dwellers to give them their own voices to speak out on issues that affect their daily activities.

“In October 2008, the Foundation for Human Dignity (FIND) entered into agreement with Trust Africa based in Senegal along with Humanity United based in California, USA, on a project, ‘Let’s Act Together’ an integrated action for empowerment of rural communities,” this is how he introduced their program activities in the rural parts of Liberia, specifically the Southeast.

Under the program, FIND is to train rural dwellers, as a means of building their capacities and empowering them and above all advocates for developmental issues, promotion of human rights and many others. Besides these cogent reasons provided, FIND says it is working to equip rural dwellers so that they can take their own destiny into their hands.

As part of the ongoing efforts to educate rural dwellers on developmental issues, issues that have to do with improving their environment, FIND said it has been holding series of ‘town hall consultative meetings’ in Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Grand Kru Counties.

“The purpose of these consultative meetings along with the project is to understand the problems of the people, to get to understand their needs and major developmental priorities, and to understand, to some extent, government is trying to address some of these problems,” Woods told newsmen.

He said in May to June 2008, they conducted several round of activities in a palava hut discussions, with the view of confirming or repudiating most of the issues that were raised during previous interactions. The consultative meetings were attended by stakeholders, meaning county authorities, community base organizations (CBOs) and community opinion leaders while ordinary people such as students, elders and market women attended the palava hut discussions.

During the consultative meetings, he said rural dwellers raised the issue of governance, domestic violence, rule of law, land tenure, accountability and many others.

“The reason of these palava hut discussions is to find from these people whether the issues raised during the consultative meetings represent their desires and aspirations, the FIND’s Project officer said. In continuation of the project, FIND has once again planned series of training activities in the Southeast, particularly in Sinoe, Maryland, River Gee, Grand Gedeh and Grand Kru Counties, targeting 20 participants per training section.

FIND intends to begin the training from August 22 – 26, 2009 starting from Juarzon, Sinoe County and move to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh for another training program on August 28-29, 2009.

Following the Zwedru training, the organization said it would move on to Fish Town, River Gee, Pleebo, Maryland County and then land in Barclayville, Grand Kru County beginning from August to September 14-15, 2009. FIND is one of the local non-governmental organizations that is advocating for human rights, good governance, rule of law and sustainability of peace.

 

Copyright © 2009 The Analyst.

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.

—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.

Chief Zanzan Karwor NamedBest/Most Productive Rice Farmer for 2008
8 December 2008

Voinjama – President Ellen Johnson has lauded Liberian farmers for complementing government’s efforts to ensure that enough food is available on the Liberian market at an affordable rate. The President made particular mention of the participation of farmers throughout this year’s National Agricultural Fair in Voinjama, Lofa County.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader congratulated the winners of this year’s awards for increased food production and other agricultural sectors. The President urged farmers throughout the country not to relent in their drive to increase food production in the country.

At Saturday’s Fair, farmers were awarded prizes in various categories including best/most productive rice farmer, tuber producer, livestock farmer, farmers group, vegetable farmer, among others. The 2008 Best/Most Productive rice farmer was captured by the Chairman of the Traditional Council of Chiefs, Mr. Zanzan Karwor, while second place went to Nimba county superintendent, Mr. Robert Karmei.

First place prize for Best/Most Productive Tuber producer (cassava, potatoes, plantains, yam, etc) went to River Gee, with Grand Cape Mount and Grand Gedeh Counties coming in second and third places respectively. Margibi came first, followed by Bong and Maryland counties in food crops production.

Best/Most productive Livestock Farmer went to Lofa County in first place while Gbarpolu and Grand Kru came in second and third places. In other agricultural areas, Rivercess County was awarded first prize in Fisheries, followed by Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties.

The Distinguished Female Farmer Award was awarded to Madam Josephine Francis of Ajay farms, for best packaging of local produce. The prizes come with cash and other prizes provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. They range from rice thresher won by Chief Zanzan Karwor; Rice winnowers, fishing nets, assorted farming tools (axes, hoes, shovels, etc).

Meanwhile, Lofa county lawmaker and Co-chair of the county’s Legislative Caucus, Representative Malian Jalieba has lauded the Liberian President for the increase in agriculture production. Representative Jalieba attributed the increase to the support being provided by the Liberian government and the international community, based on representations the President has made to the country’s foreign partners. Representative Jaleeba assured the President that given the level of support, Lofa County will eventually regain its status as the Bread basket of Liberia.

This year’s National Agriculture Fair was witnessed by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Agriculture Ministers of Mano River Union countries, the ambassadors of the United States and China, as well as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-general.

The next National Agriculture Fair, Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe announced, will be held next year in River Gee County in South-eastern Liberia.

Copyright © 2008 Liberia Government.

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