LIHEDE Works To Save The Liberian People From Malaria


LIHEDE Works To Save The Liberian People From Malaria



Dr. Somah
Syrulwa Somah, PhD. -- Executive Director, LIHEDE
Telephone: (336) 456-8075
Greensboro (March 19, 2008) : The Liberian History, Education, & Development, Inc. (LIHIDE) is delighted by news from Bomi County, Liberia that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have formalized agreement for disbursement of US$37.5 to Liberia under President George Bush’s President Malaria Initiative Program (PMI) at US$12.5 each year over a next-three year period to combat malaria in Liberia.
LIHEDE is delighted because when LIHEDE first launched its “WE WANT NO MORE MALARIA IN Liberia” campaign beginning with an international   symposium in the U.S. on “Combating Malaria in Post-Conflict Liberia” in 2005, Liberia was not even in contention for inclusion on the list of countries to benefit from President Bush’s PMI program.
LIHEDE sees the historic launching of President George W. Bush Malaria Initiative (PMI) in the new Liberia as both a great milestone in raising public consciousness about and containing the malaria epidemic in Liberia, and   a reaffirmation that Liberia cannot build a strong, prosperous, and democratic society without a   healthy people, especially where malaria has been a key irritant in the socioeconomic growth and development of Liberia due to the huge death rates and treatment costs associated with malaria epidemic in Liberia.
President George W. Bush
Pres. George Bush
LIHEDE is more gratified that its efforts in the last three years or so to bring to local and international attention the poor status of malaria treatment and control in Liberia, and   the devastating effects of malaria on the human capital, economic viability, and productive resources of   Liberia, have begun to yield huge dividends for the Liberian government and people, as evident by the $36 million granted under PMI to fight malaria in Liberia, and new infusions of monetary and non-monetary donations by the Chinese, German, and other governments, as well as the Global Fund and other such bodies toward current malaria treatment, prevention, control, and eradication efforts in Liberia.
President Ellen J. Sirleaf
Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
LIHEDE recalls that when it first   launched its “WE WANT NO MORE MALARIA IN Liberia”   campaign in the U.S. in 2005 and invited USAID, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the Director of the Malaria Program at the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and health professionals from top American and Liberian institutions and organizations to an international symposium to discuss and map out appropriate strategies for the treatment, prevention, and control of malaria in Liberia, many Liberians dismissed the LIHEDE’s efforts at the time as misguided. But undaunted, LIHEDE not only shared the resolution from the 2005 Malaria Symposium with the Liberian government, USAID, and other governmental and non-governmental institutions to raise public awareness of the acute nature of the malaria epidemic in Liberia, but LIHEDE also decided to host a National Health Conference in Liberia to share the findings of the 2005 Malaria symposium with the Liberian government and people with the goal of formulating a national malaria policy for Liberia.
LIHEDE organized and hosted the first National Health Conference in Monrovia in December 2006, in collaboration with the Liberian Health Ministry and other public and private entities in Liberia , geared toward malaria treatment, control, and eradication in Liberia . It was, however, during the Monrovia Conference that the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia extended an invitation LIHEDE officials to witness the historic announcement made by President George W. Bush via satellite that Liberia had been selected as a focused country to benefit from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) funds, which was broken down initially for disbursement in two installments at US$2.8 million dollars in 2007 and US$12 million dollars in 2008. LIHEDE is therefore proud that through its letter writing and symposium initiatives, Liberia was finally added to the PMI list of countries, and Liberia is now set to get US$37.5 million over three years instead of the initial amount of US$14.8 million over two years    to combat malaria in Liberia.
LIHEDE feels passionate about malaria treatment, prevention, and control in Liberia and this is why it hosted the 2005 symposium on combating malaria in post-conflict Liberia, and wrote dozens of letters to   U.S. President George Bush, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, USAID officials, and   a group   of U.S. senators, as well as to the offices of the UN Secretary General, the UN General Assembly, Pope Benedict VIX, the African Union president and other international leaders and bodies to highlight   the plight of Liberians with respect to the malaria epidemic in Liberia. LIHEDE remains committed to malaria free new Liberia because the Liberian people have suffered for too long, died needlessly, and spent all their hard earned dollars fighting malaria, which is a preventable disease.
LIHEDE began its advocacy   its malaria advocacy in 2003 for malaria control and prevention in Liberia when Liberia was not even in contention for inclusion on the list of countries to benefit from PMI, and now that Liberia has become a beneficiary nation for PMI, we are encouraged to continue our advocacies for malaria control and eradication in Liberia, even if we continued to be accused   of planning to spread the whole of Liberia with DDT, having   an ulterior motive, or using malaria as a scapegoat for the   political ambitions of the leaders of LIHEDE. But whatsoever the rumors and speculations out there, LIHEDE is determined to make good on its resolve to work toward the eradication of malaria in Liberia, just as a number of developed countries, including the United States, have managed to eradicate malaria in their nations.
Dr. Mariah Seton
Dr. Mariah Seton
Founding member of LIHEDE
LIHEDE believes that the only way the rest of the world would come to heed the calls of LIHEDE, other Liberian organizations, or the Liberian government to assist with malaria control, prevention, and eradication efforts in Liberia is when they see that we as Liberians are helping ourselves before telling them where we are hurting the most and need help.   LIHEDE therefore believes that the US$37.5 from PMI is a great start, as would the anticipated US$37from the Global Fund, in the national effort at malaria treatment, control, and prevention in Liberia . And LIHEDE is glad that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has hosted its first National Health Fair in Liberia , while the Ministry’s National Malaria Control Strategies have been revamped to include case management and multiple preventions using ITNS, IRS, early treatment behavioral modification techniques, and other needed malaria screening and drugs options. LIHEDE welcomes all of these initiatives in the national effort to combat malaria in Liberia .
LIHEDE pledges its support and cooperation with the Liberian government through the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, Education, Youth and Sports, Information, Culture, and Tourism, and Labor in the national malaria eradication drive, especially given the recent successful hosting by LIHEDE of its national culture- driven malaria program in Grand Bassa and Bong counties aimed at using sports and local Liberian cultural values to educate the public about malaria. LIHEDE hopes that it will continue to enjoy the cooperation of the Liberian government in all of its endeavors in Liberia , as we cannot build the new Liberia by keeping each other down, or ignoring each other where proper recognition and respect are due. LIHEDE believes that no single entity can defeat malaria in Liberia , as malaria can only be defeated in Liberia through collective efforts, mutual respect, commitment, cooperation, and collaboration of all Liberians and friends of Liberia . LIHEDE cannot eradicate malaria in Liberia by itself, and no single Liberian community or organization can do it alone. We must all cooperate and collaborate to prevent, control, and dismantle malaria in Liberia arm in arm.
LIHEDE believes that as Liberia begins to get outside funding for malaria control and prevention efforts in Liberia, it will be very important for the Liberian government to impress on the donors about its national plan and national priority with regard to malaria treatment and control, or the donors may export ready-made malaria treatment and control options to Liberia that may not suit the local environment in Liberia, although it is clear that he who plays the pipe calls the tune.   Consequently, LIHEDE stands by its core principles and objectives underlying LIHEDE’s “culture-driven” malaria control program in Liberia , and entertains the hope that the Liberian authorities will consider some of these objectives when receiving or negotiating funding to combat malaria in Liberia .
Liberian children
The core values and objectives underlying LIHEDE’s “culture-driven” malaria control program in the new Liberia include:
  • Undertaking malaria education projects in Liberia that encompasses teaching about malaria in Liberian schools.
  • Using radio scripts in Liberian vernacular languages to educate and rally the support of Liberians outside the city centers in the efforts of combating malaria.
  • Establishing malaria free zones across Liberia in the campaign for malaria control, prevention, and eradication in Liberia .
  • Developing a national malaria curriculum, drama, musical performances, talent shows, interschool competition at all levels (with awards and trophies) to promote malaria awareness in Liberian schools
  • Providing updated materials about malaria to schools, public libraries, which includes books, films, videos, and documentaries to Liberians regarding the control and prevention of malaria throughout the new Liberia .
  • Hosting of annual soccer tournaments to promote malaria awareness in the new Liberia and to underscore the collective efforts needed to educate the Liberian public and the African people about the dangers of malaria.
  • Adopting a Pan-African approach to malaria control and prevention, which will involve the neighboring countries of Liberia as part of our effort to have African countries working together to combat malaria on the African continent.
  • Lobbying the Liberian House of Representatives and Senate to enact a National Malaria Abatement Bill, and
  • Enhance a Coherent National Malaria Policy for the new Liberia .
LIHEDE remains appreciative of current efforts at local and international levels for malaria control, prevention, and eradication in the new Liberia , and we work together to save the Liberian people from the malaria epidemic in the new Liberia.



Nat Galarea Gbessagee
Secretary General, LIHEDE


Syrulwa Somah, PhD.
Executive Director, LIHEDE



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