Bomi Superintendent Blames Ebola Spread on Tradition

first_imgBomi County Superintendent, Samuel F. Brown says the spread of Ebola in the county would have been minimized if citizens had adhered to the advice of health authorities.During an interview with the Daily Observer recently, Superintendent Brown regretted that people in the county hold on to their traditions so strongly that they did not agree at the outset to suspend some of their traditional activities and practices as advised by health and county authorities.The uncontrollable spread of the virus in the county, said the superintendent, was the result of the refusal of some people to avoid contact with Ebola patients and washing of dead bodies.  The denial of the existence of the Ebola virus also contributed to more people contracting it.The Bomi Superintendent expressed delight that the treatment and care centers in the county had been constructed to help contain the Ebola virus.  He told this newspaper that citizens of the county are also now responding to advice from health and local authorities and are slowly suspending their traditional activities.He said the erection of an ETU in the county coupled with the training of health workers would greatly help to reduce and prevent new cases arising in the county. Because of the lack of treatment and care centers, people were compelled to be in close contact with their sick relatives thus contracting the disease themselves.It may be recalled that last August following the declaration of the state of emergency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties quarantined because of the raging Ebola spread reported there.The traditional practices referred to by Superintendent Brown are rooted in the people’s religious beliefs namely, Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion.Islam is the dominant religion in the county and believers subscribe to washing of dead bodies and washing their faces with water which is afterwards used to wash a senior cleric.Those subscribing to the African Traditional Religion are said to deny that Ebola exists and they apply herbs to sick persons thereby contracting and transmitting the virus.Most Christians, on the other hand, hold on to the belief that the power of the Holy Spirit can cure any disease, and they believe in the laying of hands on the sick, including Ebola patients, to pray for them and extinguish the “evil spirits.”All these practices, rooted in the beliefs of the people, Mr. Brown said, are responsible for the rampant spread of the virus.  But he indicated that people are becoming more responsive to the messages and advice from health authorities.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Women CSOs Call for Stronger, More Targeted Actions in Post-2015 MDG Framework

first_imgThe Women Civil Society Post-Millennium Development Goals Steering Committee has called on the Liberian Government, through the Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, to take strong action at a global level to ensure that the Post-2015 Development Framework has the rights of all women and girls at heart.The Women NGOs secretariat is a national network of over nine women civil society organizations established in October 2012 with the objective of giving women a voice and advancing their issues in the ongoing discourses about framing a global agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The network has member organizations including the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) in Liberia, as well as others in Ghana, Kenya and the United Kingdom.According to a letter written to the Gender Minister, the Network recognized and welcomed the Liberian Government’s participation in the Post-2015 negotiations, as well as efforts made over the past years to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through the adoption and implementation of the African Union Protocol.“In this regard,” wrote Marpue M. Speare and T. Estella Nelson, Chairperson and Liaison, respectively, on behalf of the Steering Committee, “we want to urge you to continue your support for women’s rights especially as the negotiations for the Post-2015 framework enter the crucial, final year.”Specifically, they are calling on the Liberian Government to raise three cardinal issues: the need for a standalone goal on gender equality and women’s rights; targeted action to tackle violence against women and girls; and for Gender equality and women’s rights to be mainstreamed across the new framework’s goals, targets and indicators, particularly health and education.The group observed that it is widely recognized that the current MDGs failed to fully address gender inequality, for instance by omitting to include a target on violence against women and girls. “It is imperative that the international community learns from this failure and ensures the new framework comprehensively addresses women’s human rights and gender equality,” the Committee maintains.  Stating that targeted action to tackle violence against women and girls should be a target to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls; and in order to ensure the target is fully implemented, the Committee insists there should be indicators that measure: states’ capability to protect survivors and prevent and respond to violence, the objective situation regarding levels of violence as well as perceptions in society about violence.The issue of gender equality and women’s rights to be mainstreamed across the new framework’s goals, targets and indicators, particularly health and education, also  failed to consider the safety of girls in school, teenage pregnancy, risk encountered by rural girls while traveling to school and quality of education (which compasses teacher quality and compensation, rural-urban disparity and income inequality). It therefore failed to address the spectrum of challenges girls face in accessing education.“Regarding MDG 4 on reducing maternal and child mortality we have seen improvements due to efforts by the government and its partners to improve the health sector,” the Committee said. “However, inadequate infrastructure and low capacity in obstetric care services remain a major threat to the safety of women giving birth in Liberia.“Diseases in our society also disproportionately affect women. For example, the vast majority of those who’ve died since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus in our society are women.”According to the Steering Committee, efforts to achieve gender equality in the new framework will only be successful if gender is mainstreamed across goals, targets and indicators – particularly those on health and education.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more