8 November 2007

Liberia: Making Health a Common Concern


Monrovia — On Tuesday this week, the United Nations (UN) and major humanitarian partners met in an attempt to raise US$64 million which is a balance on US$110 million needed for humanitarian assistance in Liberia this year.

Jordan Ryan, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN's Secretary General said the money, once sourced, would prioritize projects in health and infrastructure, including health, water, sanitation and agriculture and food security, among others.

Although the other areas ticked for assistance are important, Liberia's health sector seems to be in complete shambles and needs attention most.

Liberia's health budget from last year doubled yet the nearly 21 million US dollars allocated this year is seen by experts as infinitesimal compared to the 10 million the year before.

With one doctor to nearly every 70,000 persons, people are desperate and would turn to anyone, including herbalists and street drug peddlers who offer curative measures of all sorts.

This is an ignoble vulnerability! And we commend the effort of the country's partners for their efforts at improving our healthcare delivery by raising the money that could complement what Government had allotted to health in the budget.

However, we too must change and adapt acceptable attitudes. We have to learn to seek advice and prescription from professional medical personnel.

We must learn to prevent simple, prevalent illnesses that are preventable by observing good sanitation and hygiene in our everyday lives; this could help reduce the risk to which we are exposed as a result of lack of doctors and its consequential lag in the health sector.

People need to stop being careless with their health as has been and continues to be the case. Drinking herbal concoctions, buying and taking just any medication without consideration for side effects cannot help.

We need to demonstrate serious concerns for our health. We can then improve our health conditions and at the same time make savings for pressing economic responsibilities such as paying our children's school fees and taking care of the home.

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