LIBERIA:Health, Security Services Difficult to Access – Afrobarometer Survey

January 2014 HeritageLiberia; A scientific survey has found out that security, health, education and other social services are difficult to be accessed by Liberians.

This is a far cry from what political theorists contend is a fundamental responsibility of government. It is believed that government’s primary responsibility is to protect the life and property of the citizenry, which entails security, health, educational and other services to the ordinary people

Despite the lion’s share of the national budget committed social services, an independent research finding proves otherwise; that social services have hardly come for the bulk of the population, leaving many citizens both in urban and rural communities to lament and complaint, and even protest and demonstrate.

The Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-led government has over the last seven years or so tried to change the course of events with programs, such as the county and social development funds; a way of devolving social services to the most needed. Despite these efforts, it appears so much is left to do as most Liberians say they hardly smell or access public services.

A huge respondents to Abrobarometer Survey question—“Based on your experience, how easy or difficult is it to obtain the following services from government? Or do you never try and get these services from government?—say it is very difficult to get health, education and security services provided by Government.

The Afrobarometer is a comparative series of public attitude surveys, covering up to 35 African countries in Round 5 (2011-2013). It measures public attitudes on democracy and its alternatives, evaluations of the quality of governance and economic performance.

In addition, the survey assesses the views of the electorate on critical political issues in the surveyed countries. The Afrobarometer also provides comparisons over time, as four rounds of surveys have been held from 1999 to 2008 and Round 5 is currently underway.

Afrobarometer’s work in Liberia is coordinated by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD). Fieldwork for Round 5 was conducted in Liberia from 24 June to 8 July 2012. The survey interviewed 1200 adult Liberians, and a sample of this size yields results with a margin of error of approximately +/-3% at a 95% confidence level.

According to the latest survey, over three in every ten Liberian (38 to 67 percent) reveal they find it “very difficult” or “difficult” in accessing services provided by government.

It appears to confirm widespread complaints by patients of public health centers that they are hardly given immediate attention by health workers even in critical condition, and that doctors often prescribe rather by apply drugs often in short supply at the public health centers.

The Afrobarometer Survey result however states that another segment of the population (6 to 46 percent) indicates otherwise. A minority of respondents spoken to admit it is “easy” or “very easy” to obtain public services.

Another interesting finding of the survey is that 9 to 21 percent say they “never try” to obtain these services.

It is not known why this segment of the population has not tried to obtain public services; the probable cause might be the lack of accessibility which still remains a challenge to many rural dwellers in Liberia.

In specific cases regarding obtaining birth certificate, driver license, passport or voter card, 22% respondents and 36% respondents say it is very difficult and difficult respectively to obtain any of those. 

Regarding accessing household services such as piped born water, electricity or telephone, 30% and 37% say it is very difficult and difficult respectively.

In getting help from the police, 26% and 37% respondents say it is very difficult and difficult respectively to get police.

For obtaining medical treatment, the survey reveals that 17% respondents say it is “very difficult” while 35% say it is “difficult” to get.

 

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