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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid