FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

3 March 2014

Liberia Health Service 'Unreliable', U.S. Cautions Traveling Citizens

Photo: U.S. State Department
United States Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo).

Monrovia — In what appears to be a troubling development for the Liberian Government, which has constantly boasted of enjoying the confidence of the international community, mainly the United States of America, the United States of America has within four days issued two damaging public statements regarding the state of affairs in Liberia. Days after the release of the report of the Secretary of State John Kerry in which the report indicated that corruption, and other forms of human rights still exist in Liberia, the United States on March 2 issued another travel alert highlighting the poor health, sanitation and other conditions prevailing in Liberia.

On the health sector, the alert stated: "Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are very poorly equipped and are incapable of providing many services. Emergency services comparable to those in the U.S. or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion.

For serious medical problems, U.S. citizens in Liberia should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. Medicines are scarce, often beyond expiration dates, and generally unavailable in most areas", the alert slams the Liberian health sector.

The sanitation condition in Liberia, the alert described as very poor, warning US citizens about the danger of serious diseases such as typhoid and malaria.

Stated the alert "As there is neither an effective garbage removal service, nor a functioning sewer system, sanitation throughout urban areas is very poor, which increases the potential for disease. Upper respiratory infections and diarrhea are common, as well as more serious diseases such as typhoid and malaria".

The United States warned, not only its citizens, but all travelers to Liberia to ensure they are vaccinated against yellow fever and anti malaria medication before stepping on the soil of Liberia.

"All travelers to Liberia must be vaccinated against yellow fever and should carry a supply of all prescription medication, including anti-malaria medication, adequate for their entire stay. A typhoid vaccination is also recommended", stated the US alert.

In its 2013 US State Department Human Rights report, the United States Secretary of State described human rights abuses as pervasive in Liberia.

According to the report, the most serious human rights abuses were those tied to a lack of justice: judicial inefficiency and corruption; lengthy pretrial detention; denial of due process; and harsh prison conditions. Violence against women and children, including rape and domestic violence, and child labor were also serious problems, the report stated.

The State Department report noted that other important human rights abuses included police abuse, harassment, and intimidation of detainees and others; arbitrary arrest and detention; official corruption; human trafficking; racial and ethnic discrimination; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; unlawful deprivation of life under customary law; mob killings; and ritualistic killings.

Impunity remained a serious problem despite intermittent government attempts to prosecute and punish officials. Amidst these alerts, the US Department of State's Counselor, Thomas Shannon is expected to visit Liberia to open the second meeting of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, and consult with stakeholders on areas of Liberia's progress and development.

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InFocus

U.S. Criticizes Liberia on Human Rights Record

United States Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo).

The United States' Department of State has released a negative report on every sector of the country, ranging from human rights abuses to corruption. Read more »