Liberia braces for coronavirus with defunct health system

Healthcare woes limit effect of Ebola learnings during 2014-16 epidemic as Liberia gears up to fight COVID-19 outbreak.

By Lucinda Rouse | Al Jazeera News |

A woman selling masks in a Monrovia market [Screengrab/Reuters]
Monrovia, Liberia – “Please open up!” blared a man’s voice through a megaphone as a government patrol vehicle stopped next to a tightly-knit group of women.

“Wash your hands!”

The women, most of them vendors at the Waterside market in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, momentarily dispersed. They have been unable to trade after municipal authorities last week demolished their stalls in a bid to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“They told us they would close the market and we agreed,” Fatumata Kaba, 33, said on Thursday. “We don’t want to be affected by the virus and bring it home to our children,” added the single mother of seven, who until last week earned living selling slippers and sunglasses.

“In other countries where markets are closed people are getting money. But here people are still eating and we’re not eating!” she complained, gesturing to open stores behind her. “If they don’t close the market, they should bring our tables back.”

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About Cholo Brooks 14001 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.