With All Our Might, Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans Must Fight WHO and CDC…

first_imgEven as reports from throughout Liberia, including some of the epi-centers of the deadly Ebola virus, say it  is rapidly receding, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for  Disease Control are still making alarming and apocalyptic ‘predictions’ that Ebola will continue to spread by massive proportions well into January 2015.The question that readily comes to mind is, What are these two global organizations up to?  After taking a full six months to respond to this deadly emergency in three West African countries where people were dropping dead in their thousands, WHO is still insisting that Ebola deaths could exceed 20,000.Pessimistically worse yet, the Atlanta-based United States government’s CDC says that between 500,000 and 1.4 million people may be infected by January.  And now the British medical journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases have just come out with another dreadful prediction, that “unless accelerated efforts to control the disease are made, the virus, by mid-December, will infect 171,000 and kill 90,000 people in Liberia alone.Are these grim predictions real? Are they a ploy to attract more world response against the epidemic, or are they designed for something else?When last week President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Foya in Lofa County, where Ebola first broke out in Liberia from across the border in Guinea, there had been in the past three weeks NO new cases reported in Lofa.  In addition, the Ebola Treatment Center in Foya was practically empty.   In Ganta, Nimba County, which lost over a hundred people, reports are saying that there are no new cases there either, and that the death toll has diminished.Even in Monrovia, reports coming in to this newspaper say the cases are going down, and that most ETUs have limited occupancy.  Our Senior Reporter Omari Jackson visited several communities around Monrovia, many of them badly affected slums, and reported that the people were in a thanksgiving mood because the number of infections and deaths were way down.Reporter Jackson said people were very upset that WHO and others were saying the reason the numbers in ETUs were down was that ‘infected’ people were staying away for fear of Ebola stigma and cremation.   He said he found no one in the several communities visited who held that view.  Many were upset with the WHO and CDC for giving these alarming predictions.  The people interviewed by Reporter Jackson said that just as they were beginning to feel a welcome sense of relief, given the visible decline in the viral infections and deaths, these WHO and CDC predictions were causing them great discomfort and anxiety.Reporter Jackson discovered another highly positive development: people are religiously following all measures of prevention, including washing their hands, not touching one another or dead bodies and insisting that anyone suspected of any kind of infection is immediately sent away from the neighborhood and led to a center where that person can be tested. In other words, the people are no longer hiding their sick, but doing what they know they must do to fight the virus.  So we expect corresponding encouragement from all the partners, including the international bodies.With the virus receding, it will be interesting to see what will happen in the 17 ETUs nearing completion by the American military contingent and by the Chinese and other partners.  Reporter Jackson visited the latest one at the new Defense Ministry premises and found that there were so far no patients there.It is an historical fact that Liberia has never before faced a health crisis like this one.  The WHO and CDC predictions, even as our people are responding robustly to the established preventive measures, have presented us with another very serious challenge:  just as President Ellen Johnson said a week ago, we must REJECT these predictions by fighting with all our might to resist this virus and expel it from ourcountry and the Mano River basin.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MDGs Impacts Not Adequately Assessed

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 to help reduce global poverty, improve global access to healthcare, education and Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) services, might have made a greater impact, but these are not actually felt or visible as a result of the lack adequate data.Delivering the Keynote address at the High Level Segment of the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday, President Sirleaf said, though the MDGs made a lot of progress, the lack of capacities and accurate measurements for progress are serious issues in assessing the real impacts of the MDGs in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as Liberia.According to a dispatch from the US, the President spoke on the theme, “Implementing a Post-2015 Development Agenda That Works for the LDCs.”She also pointed out that due to the lack of consultations during the early years of implementation of the MDGs, most of the LDCs did not take ownership of the global objectives nor did they believe it to be solutions to their problems.“Moreover, by utilizing a uniformed set of targets, the methodology overlooked differences in country conditions and capacities, leading to challenges in assessing progress made by respective countries,” she said.Nevertheless, President Sirleaf indicated that the MDGs framework became an important tool for improving human development, especially in the LDCs; adding that significant progress has been achieved globally in addressing poverty, malnutrition and communicable diseases, as well as in human development indicators such as education and health.She stressed that when the MDGs was launched in 2000, Liberia was still mired in conflict with no knowledge and participation in its formulation.However, she noted that since 2006, Liberia has made significant progress especially in education, gender equality and women empowerment, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases as well as resource management.“These have enabled Liberia to attract investment and promote sustained and inclusive growth aimed at raising people’s well-being and expectations,” she said.President Sirlreaf however emphasized that the Ebola outbreak exacerbated Liberia’s economic growth decline, and its transformation which was already being affected by decline in the country’s main exports of rubber and iron ore.She said the experience of Liberia and its neighbors with the Ebola virus disease highlighted the fact that while all countries are at risk of such outbreaks, the LDCs are particularly vulnerable to public health emergencies, with severe impacts on the lives, livelihoods and the economies of these countries.She reiterated that Liberia’s experience suggests the fundamental importance of infrastructure and essential skills development, as well as training to strengthen the capacities of LDCs to respond to public health challenges and emergencies, and to mitigate shocks to health systems.Liberia currently serves as a member of the Global Coordination Bureau of the LDCs within the United Nations.The MDGs are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. It was adopted by the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty by establishing measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; preventing deadly, but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives.The MDGs came to an end this year; though with a lot of progress, much still need to be done, especially in the Least Development Countries. It is shortly to be replaced with another global development agenda that is being prepared by the UN.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more