Double Mess: The Fate Of People Living With HIV In Liberia; Amidst The Deadly Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak


Written by Solomon Watkins-+231 (0) 886 427 519/ysolomonwwatkins@gamil.com

President of the Liberian Network of People Living with HIV (LIBNEP+) Joejoe Baysah

President of the Liberian Network of People Living with HIV (LIBNEP+) Joejoe Baysah

MONROVIA: More than three (3) decades now, HIV and AIDS continue to remain a major threat to Global Developmental Agendas, particularly programs of the Government of Liberia and its citizens.

According to the 2014 Liberia Demography Health Survey (2014LDS), the prevalence of people living with HIV has increased from 1.5% in 2007 to 1.9% currently. The survey noted that the 1.9% accounts for thirty eight thousand people tested HIV positive out of the Nation’s 4.2 million population.

As the national HIV and AIDS response is still confronted with challenges of stigma and discrimination, limited capacity for effective program implementation, ineffective monitoring and reporting of the national response, and most importantly, over dependency on external funding for the national program, Ebola which is being considered more than a health issue has begun to infect and killed people living with HIV in the country.

Already People Living with HIV (PLHIV) immune system are weakened by HIV and is only with the help of the Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) which is a treatment that can suppressed HIV and AIDS, latest reports gathered from associations of people living with the virus and their members revealed that more than seven (7) persons who had HIV have died of Ebola related causes in Liberia. Continue reading

Second Government Minister Undergoes Ebola Quarantine


Liberia’s Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to be quarantined after death of her driver from the Ebola virus

Liberia’s Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to be quarantined after death of her driver from the Ebola virus

Transport Minister Angela Cassell-Bush has voluntarily submitted to being quarantined following reports of the death of her driver, Nimene Sumo, from the Ebola virus.

Disclosing this Tuesday at the Ministry of Information regular Ebola press briefing at the ministry, Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Isaac Jackson, said contrary to speculations in the public, the Minister is not infected with the Ebola virus.

Minister Bush is the second cabinet official to undergo self quarantine. About three weeks ago, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn quarantined herself after a staff in her office died of Ebola.

A Transport Ministry release also clarifies that the late Sumo, a driver assigned with the Minister, has made no contact with her since his last day at work on Friday, October 3, 2014.

As a matter of precaution, Minister Cassell-Bush has decided to voluntarily isolate herself for the period of 21 days, commencing October 3, 2014, Mr. Sumo’s last day of work and the last day of her interaction with him. Continue reading

Security Council Hears 2nd Briefing On Ebola


The Security Council will today receive a briefing on Ebola followed by consultations. Briefers will be Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. The meeting, proposed by the US, is expected to focus on the security implications of the Ebola epidemic and its impact on the political and peacekeeping missions in the region. Continue reading

Licensing Journalists: A Panic Decision or an Act of Desperation?


By Peter Quaqua /12 October 2014

Introduction

WAJA President Peter Quaqua (far rights with colored shirt) joining Liberian journalist on observance of World Press Freedom Day 2014

WAJA President Peter Quaqua (far rights with colored shirt) joining Liberian journalist on observance of World Press Freedom Day 2014

I have been following the ongoing debate between the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberian government over the licensing of journalists in the country and I am obliged to share my thoughts with the hope of putting some issues into context and to “cool the temper.” Honestly I thought we could spare ourselves of all these ‘distractions’ to apply our combined energies and resources to the national Ebola fight and stop opening new frontiers because we are doing more harm than good to our country. So let me therefore beg the government to please keep this fight for another day if it feels strong about pursuing it. While advising however, I should give a hint of what to expect if and when the regime decides to proceed.

The Call for Journalists to lineup for Licensing

Could this be another panic decision or an act of desperation? On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, a release from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) quoted Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson as saying that journalists must seek annual permits from the Information Ministry, in accordance with Chapter 31.8 of the New Executive Law.         The PUL rightfully challenged the decision and called on journalists not to cooperate.

Throughout my practice as a journalist dating back to 1996, and my stewardship on the leadership of the Press Union, I was never confronted with this subject of licensing or registering journalists as it were. It is safe to suggest that previous regimes either knew it was a controversial issue or a potential minefield and did not venture in that terrain. Those regimes included the noted dictators of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Continue reading

Look back on how leaders reacted to ebola in Liberia


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Was Eric that evil? Another view of the Duncan story


By Tennen B. Dalieh

The mid-term senatorial election is scheduled to be held on October 14 2014, about a week from now but as it is and from all indications, election will not be held on 14, October. Article of the Liberian constitution states under Article 83(a) that “elections are held on the second Tuesday of October every election year….”

No doubt elections cannot be held due to the Ebola outbreak. In August of this year, consultations were been held with political parties and Civil Society groups in Liberia by the National Election Commission (NEC) to gauge their views on the possibilities of holding election. A month and half later all activities leading to Election Day were suspended. No one ever argues the LEGALITY in this matter as Expediency is the way out. Continue reading

EU Denounces Capital Punishment


The European Union and the Council of Europe have reaffirmed their strong and absolute opposition to capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and their commitment to its worldwide abolition.

In a Joint Statement by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the EU said “We are deeply concerned about setbacks in some countries, such as recent mass trials leading to a vast number of death sentences, the extension in domestic legislation of the scope of the death penalty’s use, or the resumption of executions after a period of several years.” Continue reading

Ebola Crisis: EU Organizes Airlift Operation To West Africa


Brussels/Dakar, 7 October 2014 – The European Union is scaling up its response to the Ebola disease in West Africa with an airlift operation to the affected countries. The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) will facilitate the transportation of relief items to West Africa. In addition, the EU will fund and coordinate if necessary the evacuation of international staff from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Continue reading

Kofi Woods Mobilizes ‘Fastest’ Ebola Test Machine, Other support For Liberia


Renowned Liberian human rights lawyer Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, II, and Mr. Ties Kroezen, Venture Manager of Philips Africa’s Incubator

Renowned Liberian human rights lawyer Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, II, and Mr. Ties Kroezen, Venture Manager of Philips Africa’s Incubator

As the Ebola Virus disease ravages the country, a renowned Liberian human rights lawyer Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, II, is mobilizing strong international support to help the government and the country deal with the killer disease, with a pending arrival of what would be the fastest Ebola test machine in Liberia.

The Philips Corporation, an electronics manufacturing giant says it will shortly roll out the improved diagnosis equipment for the quick detection of the Ebola virus disease.

Mr. Ties Kroezen, Venture Manager of Philips Africa’s Incubator, made the disclosure during a meeting with Atty. Woods Wednesday in the Netherlands.

According to Mr. Ties Kroezen the new testing equipment which will take seconds to diagnose Ebola, will be rolled in out in a matter of weeks. “It is expected that when this machine comes into use, it will take seconds to diagnose cases of Ebola,” Kroezen told Woods.

The Ebola diagnostic device discussed is awaiting approval by WHO for deployment. When approved, WHO will take responsibility for local distribution, according to Woods.

“We are also in contact with USAID and the US Department of Defense about using this device. The US DOD is already using the standard version of these devices and should be easily able to use the Ebola-version,” a dispatch from Holland noted. Continue reading

Liberia’s Civil Society Reject President’s Request for Extra Powers: Terms It Threat To Democracy


 The Civil Society has been heavily involved in the fight against Ebola at many levels

The Civil Society has been heavily involved in the fight against Ebola at various levels including awareness activities like this banner

The Civil Society of Liberia Wednesday (Oct 8) in Liberia has rejected in the strongest terms a letter submitted to the Legislature by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf seeking extra-constitutional powers to respond to the ebola outbreak in Liberia.

They termed the President’s request as a threat to fundamental rights and democracy.

“Civil Society believes the issues raised by the president threatens civil liberty, stability of the state, and undermines the core of our democratic system of government, which effectively threatens the future of our country,” a statement issued in Monrovia stated.

According to the statement, “Civil Society is of the view that the current powers granted under the August 7 state of emergency and the increased international support are sufficient to deal with situation at hand, and the president does not need any extra-constitutional powers to ensure success in this. Continue reading