The health of refugees in Liberia: issues of new and emerging disease in voice of America Camp
Mwendar, Salome M
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This research is an analysis of how resource-wealth and greed by authorities for these resources on one hand, coupled with greed for power on the other, fuelled conflict in Sierra Leone that eventually saw massive a exodus of its citizens to neighboring countries as refugees. One such country that accepted refugees from Sierra Leone was Liberia. This is long before Liberia had its own share of a conflict and civil unrest. The study is an attempt to demonstrate how the refugees' health issues were addressed in the refugee camps in Liberia using a camp scenario that had been established for the refugees from Sierra Leone. The study also focuses on the health tribulations and challenges that these refugees were exposed to, and the different roles played by humanitarian agencies in Liberia in creating conducive healthy environments for the refugees in these camps. The study also shows the mechanisms employed by the refugees themselves in handling their own health problems and gives recommendations on how the health of refugees needs to be handled given the delicate balance of the desire and willingness by different authorities/actors to proscribe fully to international agreements vis a vis the ability to honour such agreements. The study tested three hypotheses: first, that there are established mechanisms for health interventions at the Voice of America Camp that only housed refugees from Sierra Leone, and which will be in line with the provisions of international humanitarian law; secondly, that the social and cultural aspects of the Sierra Leonean society have an input into the awareness and educational levels of the refugees and which further contribute to the spread, control and management of the new and re-emerging diseases in the Camp; and thirdly, that refugees have developed their own coping mechanisms as regards all aspects of the diseases including related awareness and education, control and management.