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Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Liberia
The Republic of Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, partly because of the 14-year long civil war that ended in 1997, which has continued to impact its population of 4.9 million people.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Liberia portray what life is like for Liberians.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Liberia

  1. Poverty
    Half of Liberians live in abject poverty which means they are severely deprived of basic needs like food, clean water, shelter, sanitation and health care access.
  2. Corruption
    The 14-year civil war in Liberia caused a breakdown in law enforcement which has disproportionately affected the poor. However, in more recent years, there has been an increase in the number of professional arrests as well as a decline in reports of torture and mistreatment in detention centers. These improvements are in part due to the United Nations Mission in Liberia initiatives on law enforcement monitoring and training.
  3. Literacy Rates
    A recent report shows that roughly 64.7 percent of Liberians are literate, compared to 10 years ago when only 42 percent of the population could read and write. Though the literacy rate has increased, the gender gap continues to highlight the lack of educational opportunities for women. While 77 percent of Liberian men can read and write, only 54 percent of women are literate.
  4. Ebola
    Ebola virus disease, which is transmitted to people from animals and human-to-human, has killed more than 11,000 Liberians.  Though the country was declared Ebola-free in 2015, two people died of the disease a few weeks after the announcement. The outbreak has impacted crop production, income levels and food security as well. Poor living conditions, like access to clean water and adequate medical facilities, have also exacerbated the impact of this deadly virus. In 2018, the WHO reported that two out of a group of 16 people that received an experimental drug for the Ebola virus have recovered. This is a big step in the eradication of Ebola in Liberia.In 2017, Liberia experienced a deadly outbreak of meningococcal disease but this was contained within weeks with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. HIV/AIDS
    HIV/AIDS has also negatively affected the country. In 2016 alone, Liberia had 2,900 new HIV/AIDS infections added to the already 43,000 people living with the disease. And of the 43,000, only 19 percent were able to access antiretroviral treatment. The following year, the Liberia National Policy on Condoms was created to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as to increase awareness regarding safe sex practices.
  6. Clean Water Access
    Following the most recent Ebola outbreak, nonprofits such as Water Aid and Waves for Water campaigned to improve clean water access in Liberia. Today, two-thirds of Liberians have access to clean water sources. However, there is still work to be done as 3.7 million people still do not have a decent toilet.
  7. Food Supply
    Years after the war, 80 percent of Liberians continue to experience food insecurity. Though the country has a vast amount of farming land and plenty of natural resources, the war has had a lasting impact on productive assets. An increase in food prices also causes a threat to food supply. As a result of increased food prices, many have changed their diet and now eat less protein and vegetables. Not surprisingly this has led to higher rates of malnutrition especially among children under the age of five.
  8. Child Labor
    Poor living conditions in Liberian has forced many families to send their children to work instead of school. As of 2018, 21 percent of children are engaged in child labor. Organizations such as the Liberia National Police’s Women and Children Protection Section lack resources to enforce laws against child labor and many children continue to be forced to work in dangerous environments such as the production of rubber and mining.
  9. Road Infrastructure
    The President of Liberia promised the government would not get worse under his leadership. In doing so, he has become committed to the country’s development, especially as it relates to improving feeder roads. The President has noted that the development and growth from road connectivity will not only be safer but will also help to support economic activities as well.
  10. Slum Upgrading Unit
    The growing population of Liberia is creating a housing shortage, with many living in inadequate housing structures. To combat this issue, the government has begun a “pro-poor national agenda” that has resulted in the establishment of a Slum Upgrading Unit with Habitat for Humanity. This program supports slums and unsafe communities that constitute 70 percent of housing in the town of Monrovia. It also aims to facilitate the supplying of basic services and infrastructure.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Liberia showcase progress in areas such as clean water access and addressing the Ebola virus. However, there remain areas for improvement as it relates to food security and health care.

 Andrea Rodriguez
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 facts about life expectancy in Liberia
Liberia is an African nation that is considered to be the oldest republic in the continent. The country has a population of 4.6 million people out of which 5 percent is made up of decedents of freed American and Caribbean slaves who founded the state.

The history of the country was clouded when a brutal civil war that started in the 1990s resulted in over 250,000 deaths and caused many other to flee the country. A major factor that determines a country’s life expectancy is the level of poverty.

Therefore, the following top 10 facts about life expectancy in Liberia will look at the economic, political and social contexts surrounding life expectancy in Liberia.

Top 10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Liberia

  1. According to the data from 2018, life expectancy in the country is at 62 years for men and 63.9 years for women. This represents an increase that began in 2016 but still puts the country at 156th place in the world. However, this is a huge leap from the 192nd place that country previously held.
  2. One of the biggest hits to the nation’s economy in recent years that also continues to greatly affect the level of life expectancy was the devastating Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that occurred in 2014.
  3. In 2018, there were reports of a new Ebola outbreak in northwestern parts of the country. This lead to the declaration of the outbreak by officials who claimed that this incident is a big risk to public health.
  4. The life expectancy of the country was affected not just by of the outbreaks of Ebola outbreaks but because other public health issues were consequently held in the back. The health system of the country was already seriously weakened during civil war years and its severity was beyond the country’s capacity.
  5. Moreover, the outbreak was detrimental to the country’s business sector as it resulted in significant businesses shutting down and the once-bustling markets now being short on some supplies. Food and fuel shortages are adding to the ongoing chaos in the country.
  6. The collapse of commodity prices and UNMIL recoil occurred in January 2018 as a result of anticipation of risk related to the political transition. These factors contributed more hurdles to Liberia’s fight against poverty and its efforts to improve life expectancy.
  7. The much-needed support for the nation came from organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, USAID as well as from other entities such as the United States government that helped in the aid of rebuilding country’s clinics and laboratories.
  8. The United States government also made a decision to increase the support given to the West African countries that were affected by the epidemic. This help can directly affect the fight against epidemic and result in the increase of life expectancy. The announcement by the United States government resulted in the immediate start in the construction of 17 new treatment facilities and training for 500 health care personnel every week.
  9. The new administration under President George M. Weah has been able to alleviate serious security issues and put government focus on a fight against poverty with an economic manifesto that is deemed pro-poor as it aims to support marginalized and vulnerable members of the population.
  10. Despite the challenges of recovering from a disease outbreak and its effect on the economy, the new leadership has an optimistic economic projection for the coming years and it plans to implement policy reforms in order to stimulate the economy and create stability.

Liberia has had some serious hurdles against its ability to initiate economic growth and sustainable development that affects key sectors such as health due to the effects of a brutal civil war and catastrophic outbreaks of Ebola. These issues affect the life expectancy in the country as well. However, the country has made some commendable efforts towards coping with these issues.

The new direction the nation has taken has a positive and ambitious goal to promote a fast and sustainable recovery for the country that will have a huge factor on the country moving up the life expectancy ranks.

– Bilen Kassi
Photo: Flickr