Post 4 – Liberia,Democracies, and Health Investments

Liberia is one of the 17 emerging countries that is mentioned in Radelet’s book.  No country can improve without the help of dedicated people or organizations that want to create change and see improvement. One organization in Liberia that is advocating for change and improvement is EQUIP Liberia. EQUIP Liberia is a local health and social welfare NGO that was founded in 1999. They focus community programs that support preventative health interventions, social welfare, nutrition, improved water, and other important issues. EQUIP Liberia is also helping in confronting the needs of rape and sexual abuse survivors, with their Gender Based Violence Program. This program works with Liberia’s justice system to find perpetrators and get convictions, and also to provide medical help to survivors (men, women, and children). EQUIP Liberia has also helped tackle Ebola, by graduating 40 participants from Tear Fund ETTE II, a soap training program. EQUIP also provided food, psycho social counseling and protection services during the outbreak. This organization mainly focuses on training of members of the community.el

Some elements of democracy are transparency, good governance, and accountability. Some basic indicators toward democracy that Radelet mentions are  a clear shift away from the politics of the individual big man toward institutionalization of power and adherence to basic rules of the game, substantial improvements in the extent to which civil liberties and political rights are honored and enforced, and significant growth in a wide range of civil society groups, NGOs, “watchdog” groups, and other voices aimed at monitoring government actions and improving transparency and accountability. Democracies are judged and ranked by two internationally recognized. The first is Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index. The second one is the University of Maryland/George Mason University Polity IV Index of Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions. Freedom House is mainly a rights based index that looks at political rights and civil liberties of citizens in a specific country. A country with an average score of 2.5 or below is considered to be ‘free’. A score of 3 to 5 is ‘partly free’ and a score of 5.5 and above are ‘not free’. Countries in the ‘free’ category are generally considered democracies, with the exception of some ‘partly free’ countries. The Polity IV index focuses on institutions with measurements of the competitiveness and openness of elections, constraints on executive power, regulations on political expression, the duration of regime type, and other measures of authority and governance. Liberia is considered partly free with a freedom rating of 3.5/7. Their political rights scores a 3/7 and their civil liberties scores 4/7. Liberia’s aggregate score is 62/100. As far as polity, according to the most recent polity data (2010), there has been no polity fragmentation for Liberia. There is still tension between President Ellen Sirleaf and opposing leaders. Political participation normalization for the future is still unknown.

screenshot-4Health is a prevailing issue among developing countries. Effective ways on making healthcare affordable yet effective are at the forefront of people like Jefferey Sachs’ mind. Banerjee and Duflo touch on the topic of health investments and mentions that clean water and sanitation are very important, effective health investments. Access to clean water is as simple as buying chlorine for cheap and sanitizing the water. This in turn prevents water-borne diseases like diarrhea that kills children in developing countries.  Investing in health can drastically improve the longevity of one’s life, which can also have an impact on the economy and income. If more people are healthier, they can be productive members of their society. Also mentioned in the book, was an example of the case where the husband cannot work and the chiold cannot go to school because of severe asthma. This affects the family because there is no income to get the husband or the child treated, so this forces the family to borrow money from loan sharks(because the treatment is more than what the family makes), which puts them in more debt. And the cycle continues.  Cost is not the only factor, availability of healthcare providers is a big issue along with quality. Better investments in healthcare availability, affordability, and regularity are effective investments.





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