Liberia: Stopping The Suicide Danger


Suicide is any situation in which one takes one’s own life. Suicide is committed every day here in Liberia and elsewhere in the world. What I am focusing on today is the suicide danger in Liberia due to the lack of knowledge about the dangerous situations of sanitation, public health pandemic and medication. Passing through neighborhoods and the market places, you see and smell the garbage. 

By Togba-Nah Tipoteh, [email protected], Contributing Writer

Would you believe that we eat garbage? Yes, we do every day when we buy food from the market places because much of the food is placed on the ground, in the midst of garbage, for sale. One of the local television stations performed a good service recently by showing how water was produced in the midst of garbage in Monrovia. In the middle of the garbage, water is bottled, bagged and packaged for sale. Most people who ride vehicles in the Country take commercial transport. From motorbikes to kehkehs to taxis to buses, the mask wearing and social distancing protocols are violated as the order of the day. Even religious preachers get on the buses to preach as a way making some money from the passengers. These vehicles pass in front of Police Stations and by Police Officers every day without being stopped, except in cases where the Officers want to get their “small thing” (money) from the Drivers. Much of the traffic jams are not due to the many holes in the road but come from the Officers trying to get their “small thing”.

The garbage at the Monrovia Center Street Graveyard is life threatening. Many persons can be seen searching the Graveyard garbage for some things that they can use. One local television station did a documentary on persons who sleep in the Graveyard, on persons who engage in commercial sexual activities in the Graveyard and on persons who steal coffins from the Graveyard. Coffins are stolen from the Graveyard because there is a market for Graveyard coffins. 

I was at a funeral recently where mask wearing and social distancing were poor. I had to place some big object next to me so that no one would sit near me. I saw a Pastor squeezing on a bench with his arm around a woman, perhaps his Wife, Someone asked me why I have not been to Church for a long time. I told the person that Church is not a building but a matter of the heart. Some people go to the Church building, singing praise to God, but when they get outside of the church building they follow the will of the devil.

Right on Broad Street at the Center of Monrovia, I stopped to buy some thing. Then a Street Seller, without mask, told me that corona was not in Liberia and that was why he was not wearing a mask. Another time, when a motorbike rider saw me with my mask. he yelled out to me saying “you the one spreading corona with your mask; so don’t bring it to me”. One time recently, I went about 300 miles outside of Monrovia and met someone selling medicines that he should have stopped selling two years ago. I told him that he should stop selling the expired medicines; he told me that he bought the same medicines in Monrovia a week ago.

Some persons, some governments and some international organizations have begun praising Liberia because they say that corona is going down in Liberia. They are not telling the truth because they do not know what is going on in Liberia, with only one corona testing center in Liberia and it is located in Monrovia. Many people are dying daily with no knowledge of the cause of death, in the absence of testing centers and pathologists, except in the cases of crashes and explosions or some war incident.

Clearly, there is urgent need for much more awareness raising on the public health protocols and the setting up of corona testing centers. For its part, the Organization, Servants of Africa Fighting Epidemics (SAFE), as set up by the late Dr, Mary Nema Brownell and the Sheikh Kafumba Konneh, and chaired by me, we are stepping up our awareness raising, stressing hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing, with a coverage of over one million persons so far.