- Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 04:09
- Written by Prince Parker
Finance and Health Ministers Amara Konneh and Walter Gwenigale have been summoned to appear before the Senate plenary Thursday, May 23, 2013 to answer why health workers in Grand Kru County have not received their three months’ pay.
The decision to summon the two ministers was reached Tuesday, following a complaint by a Grand Kru County Senator, Peter Coleman that health workers in that county have laid down their tools and abandoned work in demand of salary arrears.
Senator Coleman told plenary that besides non-payment of salary arrears for health workers in Grand Kru, there are shortages of drugs and other essential supplies to effectively operate health facilities in Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Sinoe counties.
The Senate Committee Chair on Health described the situation as appalling, and stressed the need for an immediate attention to the problem.
“Given the gravity of what exists in Grand Kru County, the most under-developed county with the highest maternal mortality rate, and at the sometime for health workers to be on go-slow is like adding insult to injury,” he lamented.
Senator Coleman further emphasized that Minister Konneh needs to explain why the 13 million United States Dollars given by the European Union for health in the country has not been disbursed.
According to him, the money is part of a package provided to the health sector through an International NGO, Merlin for health services. But with the closure of Merlin, Dr. Coleman alleged that the government has been receiving the money.
However, Senator Coleman has called on the protesting health workers to return to work.
“We have appealed to them to suspend their protest action; I promised that latest next week the issue of payment will be done” he told this paper Tuesday in Monrovia.
- Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 04:04
- Written by Prince Parker
--Karteh Cites Reason
Despite huge international support to Liberia’s health sector, the problems facing the sector are undeniably far from over. For the past two budgetary years, health has had huge allotments, the country’s health conditions continue to depreciate on a daily basis.
For instance in Grand Bassa County, the newly elected Senator, Nyonblee K. Lawrence revealed recently that the health situation in the county is declining apparently due to the shortage of drugs at the Liberia Government Hospital.
She also narrated that some people, including pregnant women have to walk for eight to nine hours just to seek medication at the government hospital; and that when they arrived the citizens are informed that there are no drugs.
However, the decline in the health sector cuts across the country. Some medical practitioners in Nimba County have attributed the rising death toll of citizens to the lack of doctors and physician assistants in the country.
Speaking to journalists, Dr. Francis Karteh of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County said there are 150 medical doctors in the country to attend to the health needs of 3.5 million people.
He explained that while the population of the country was growing gradually, the health needs of the people continue to increase.
Dr. Karteh disclosed that shortage of medical doctors remains a serious problem in the country.
“Liberia, as I speak to you, has 150 medical doctors and when you divide this number by the population (3.5 million people), it means that you will have one doctor to thirty-thousand (30,000) persons, and this is not good for the development of the country,” Dr. Karteh stressed.
According to him, the lack of trained medical practitioners and specialized individuals was one of several reasons the country health condition was depreciating.
Dr. Karteh said the depreciation of the country’s health condition could be addressed if another medical college or colleges were established in other parts of the country.
He emphasized the need to have another medical school established in Nimba or other parts of the country to train more health workers.
He also disclosed that the life expectancy of Liberians was only 37 years, which he believes is attributed to the worsening health condition.
He called on Liberians doctors in the diaspora to come home and help rescue the health sector.
- Published on Monday, 04 March 2013 11:33
- Written by Culled from BBC, February 16, 2013
A fall in the proportion of gay and bisexual men using condoms is behind the rise in HIV infections in those groups in the UK, researchers say.
- Published on Thursday, 25 April 2013 08:29
- Written by Miriam Falco, CNN
Proper food safety and protection against illness begins at the grocery store, experts say.
- Meat, fruit and vegetables can all pose a risk of foodborne illness
- Cases of Campylobacter illness are on the rise, according to the CDC
- Chicken and ground beef top an organization's "risky meat" list
- Care during food preparation is essential
Despite food safety measures, the threat of foodborne illness remains in meat and produce -- and some types of illness are on the rise, recent reports say.
About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Salmonella remained the top cause of foodborne illness last year, according to the CDC's on food poisoning, issued Thursday. However, the overall instance of Salmonella was unchanged from the 2006-08 data, the agency said. The report card is based on reports from 10 U.S. regions, representing about 15% of the country.
The second most common cause of illness was , which increased 14% over the 2006-08 data, the CDC said. Campylobacter lives on live chickens and can taint meat during slaughter; it can also be found in raw, unpasteurized milk.
Researchers from this advocacy group examined data from foodborne illness outbreaks over a 12-year period and found between 1998 and 2010, meat and poultry products were linked to "at least 1,714 outbreaks involving 33,372 illnesses."
That estimate may only be the tip of the iceberg, the group said, as people may not seek medical attention for food poisoning and cases go unrecorded. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has an for those who think they might have a foodborne illness.
"We applaud CSPI's ongoing efforts to educate consumers about food safety," Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, the USDA's undersecretary for food safety, said in a statement responding to the report.
"While we have made progress in making food safer -- including cutting E. coli O157-related illnesses in half -- we still have work to do. As Salmonella rates continue to stagnate, we look forward to CSPI's support, and the support of other groups committed to food safety, of our efforts to reduce this dangerous foodborne pathogen, including modernization of the poultry inspection system."
Eighty-one percent of ground chicken, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef and 39% of chicken were found to contain the bacteria, the organization reported, citing data from a February Food and Drug Administration report. Antibiotic resistance reduces doctors' options to treat you if you become ill.
On Monday, the Environmental Working Group published the latest version of its . The advocacy group describes it as a consumer shoppers' guide to determine which types of produce pose the highest threat of pesticides.
Improving food safety begins before the products ever reach the consumer, at the slaughterhouse and in the fields, but "being careful in the kitchen is also very important," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.
So what's a consumer to do?
At the store
A CDC published in 2010 once again highlighted the fact that young children can be exposed to raw meat and poultry products while riding in shopping carts, particularly if they ride in the basket of the cart.
Researchers suggest that parents keep their child away from these products, which could be leaking juices carrying bacteria, by placing their child in the cart's seat, and not place meat or poultry products in the seat while shopping to avoid contamination.
All consumers can benefit from separating their raw meat, poultry and seafood purchases from other food products to prevent cross-contamination.
The USDA recommends placing these types of foods in plastic bags and also placing these purchases in separate shopping bags at checkout.
Packaging meat products in leak-proof containers would also help cut cross-contamination. New Zealand, for instance, saw a significant reduction in foodborne illness after mandating leak-proof packaging, Tauxe said.
When you get home, storing raw meats in a plastic bag or container to prevent any juices from dripping on other foods is also important.
, another type of illness-causing bacteria, can grow in foods in the refrigerator, according to the CDC. Use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature inside the fridge; it should be 40 degrees or lower, and the freezer should be 0 degrees or lower.
Ideally, use separate cutting boards for fruits and vegetables and raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.
Some home cooks wash their meat under running water before cooking, but, experts say, that can spread contaminated juices in places that may not be visible.
Use hot, soapy water to clean utensils and cutting boards after preparing foods; use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean towels to clean work surfaces.
Proper cooking is essential for , poultry and seafood. Cooking temperatures have to reach a certain temperature to destroy bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella; a meat thermometer is the only way to be sure those have been reached.
A thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. Ground beef, lamb and poultry should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit; whole chickens, turkeys and poultry parts to 165 degrees; and whole cuts of meat-like steaks, chops and roasts to 145 degrees, followed by three minutes of rest time before carving or eating.
Harmful bacteria can start growing at room temperature, so any leftovers should go into the fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking.