Health Assessment In Liberia Finds High Mortality Among The Displaced
|Photo: Timothy Bishop/IRC|
In Liberia, which has been plagued by renewed unrest since March, the International Rescue Committee has conducted a survey to assess health conditions and mortality among displaced populations.
Visiting 11 camps in Bong and Monserrado counties in July and August, an IRC team found crude mortality rates among displaced Liberians, particularly children under five years old, more than two times the emergency threshold.
Camilo Valderrama, the IRC’s emergency health coordinator, said the leading causes of death in the camps are severe respiratory infection, malaria and diarrhea. “There are serious gaps in health assistance for displaced Liberians and the situation has deteriorated significantly in recent months,” he said.
The report identifies critical areas which need to be addressed: sanitation and water supply improvements, environmental health interventions such as spraying and removal of standing water, increased vaccination coverage and the training of community health workers to raise awareness about preventive actions.
“Funding sources have dropped for Liberia and unless there is urgent and continued international support, the implications will become even more serious,” Valderrama warns.
In the report, the IRC says if health conditions continue to deteriorate, there is likely to be an increase in the influx of Liberian refugees to neighboring countries, which could have a destabilizing effect on states just emerging from war—like Sierra Leone.
The IRC’s findings and recommendations are contained in a report that was issued to Liberian health authorities, donor organizations and aid groups working in Liberia.
The full text of the report is available here.