News / Africa

Liberian President Calls For Free Health Services

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Schlein

Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson is urging countries to make free health care available to the poor.  The Liberian president told ministers attending the World Health Assembly that too many people in developing countries are suffering from ill health and are dying because they cannot get the care they need.

Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, says people should not have to die because they are poor.  But, she notes poor people are dying all the time because they cannot get the treatment they need to keep them healthy and to keep them alive.

She says the statistics in her country bear this out.  She notes many improvements in health have been made since Liberia's 14-year civil war ended in 2003.  For example, she says the prevalence of malaria has fallen by half and child mortality rates have been cut by 50 percent.

But, she says there has been a sharp increase in the number of women dying in childbirth.  And, this is because they do not have access to the skilled care they need.  

She notes more than 90 percent of Liberia's population lives on less than $2 a day.  This makes health care unaffordable.  

Because of this sad reality, she says Liberia along with Nepal, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Ghana have established a new program, which allows the poorest members of their society to get the health care they need without having to pay for it up front.

"In our own case in Liberia, we committed to making permanent our temporary suspension of users' fees and to providing free health care for all depending on the continuing support of adequate donor finance to make this possible," said President Johnson.  "Offering free health care services at all public health facilities has significantly increased outpatient attendance across the country."  

President Johnson says the government also is expanding access to health care by building more clinics and health facilities and this also is making a big difference.

In addition, she says Liberia now has more trained health workers that are implementing policies to make sure health care is equitable.

"What is equally clear to us is that the people who are least able to pay for this care should not be the ones forced to do so," she added.  "The implication is clear.  Often such people simply do not have the money to pay and often they die as a result."  

The Liberian president acknowledges that free health care is not free.  It costs money, which has to come from somewhere.  She appeals to international donors to continue and to increase their support for free health facilities in poor countries.  Such support, she says, will save countless lives and improve the economic and development prospects of poor countries.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid