The right of persons to health care especially at this period of time in the history of Liberia is precarious and worrisome. It is the responsibility of Government to protect the public from epidemic, prevent and control communicable diseases such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, typhoid and measles amongst others; provide access to affordable and quality health care and promote health.
These responsibilities of preventing, promoting and protecting public health, until the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, have been taken for granted by both the governed and the governors. We are not sure of the percentage of persons with access to health care system in the urban and rural areas of Liberia. We are yet to account for the number of persons who died (dying) due to lack of access to health care and not from Ebola virus.
Our rights to public health protection include full access to affordable health care, availability, equity in the distribution of health care facilities to vulnerable communities and marginalized groups and lastly consideration for gender mainstreaming.
When I visit the counties, people often told me “access to medical facility is poor, health centers lack basic medical supplies and health workers are inadequately trained”. I did not believe this and I must confess being a victim of this reality.
Sometimes, in our quest for peace and investment is social security, we must take time to examine our health care system and see how best to improve on it. The Ebola epidemic in recent times gives us an avenue to re-examine our health care system in line with the rights of Liberians to quality health care. It is the right of every citizen to be provided with adequate health care coverage and protected from disease epidemic.
As Messengers of Peace, we are optimistic that a time would come in the history of this country when affordable health insurance scheme would be introduced and available to most Liberians. Adequate health care coverage is possible in Liberia and so is sustainable peace. Our mandate is to advocate for peace and investment in social security.
Self-care is taken for granted by everyone until something happens, as individuals we need to put in place health care monitor through temperature screening until Liberia is declared Ebola free.
It is critical to avoid dealing (except it is our job to do so) directly with those suspected of Ebola virus and we should avoid contact with animals that are reservoirs of infection.
The Ebola epidemic has brutally exposed the weakness of our health care system as well as the limitations of our rights to health care and it would be in our best interest to benefit from the lessons learned. We need to educate our children through the stories and information we provide them with.
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Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates- The Right to Educate”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.