Health workers and residents are contending that the slum communities of Monrovia and other parts of Liberia where they live and work are highly vulnerable to the spread of the Ebola virus and should be urgently decongested.
In several interviews with the Daily Observer in Monrovia Tuesday, health workers and residents expressed fear and apprehension about the grave danger posed by over crowdedness and congestion in the slums particularly during the prevailing Ebola crisis, pointing out that physical contact is one of the surest ways for people to be infected by the deadly Ebola virus.
Practical strategies should be designed to begin decongesting slum communities they urged, adding that urban planners, health authorities, environmental experts, residents and other stake holders should begin holding discussions on how and where to relocate populations from overcrowded slums.
“Prioritizing on the national development agenda the relocation of slum dwellers to environmentally friendly areas in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia should no longer be delayed, they emphasized adding that the construction of sustained medical facilities within slum communities should also be included.
“Our people are living in dehumanizing conditions that should claim the immediate attention of all Liberians in and out of the country,” health worker Samson Doelue declared.
Another health worker, Martha B. Roberts, pointed out that the vulnerable slum dwellers also face other serious threats such as sea erosion and the lack of public sanitation facilities.
Slum dwellers have over the years pleaded for basic but critical benefits such as better equipped health facilities, water and electricity, but their cries have for the most part, fallen on deaf ears.
“I believe that their relocation to environmentally friendly areas is one of the best alternatives that would ease our vulnerability to water and air-borne diseases,” Madam Roberts maintained.
When contacted in the largest slum community of West Point in central Monrovia, residents told the Daily Observer that the proposal advanced by some to relocate slum dwellers is indeed realistic and sustainable.
“We are willing to relocate but, the initiative must be designed to suit the current housing conditions in Monrovia and its environs,” West Pointer Blamo Sonpon stressed.
New locations for residents should be environmentally friendly, crime free and contain basic necessities that would enhance our livelihoods including quality water systems, schools, healthcare facilities among others, said Mr. Sonpon.