By: Josephine Seekey
In Liberia, Healthcare is rather tricky. The health care system is mostly poor, with people dying from many preventable diseases, one can’t be too careful. very Cardinal and somehow frigate.
Healthcare has to do with the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of disease, illness, injury and other physical and mental impairment in people.
In order to keep our families healthy, especially our children, we should make sure the kids are well fed in our various homes. Awareness should be made on the kind of food our children eat, especially before and after eating a regular meal.
Let’s first, acknowledge that, it is quite difficult to manage the health of families in developing countries like Liberia. The poverty rates are high, making parents and caregivers cut corners on many necessary food and health measures. For families with four children and above, things are even harder. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem practical. That’s a sad truth. However, certain simple steps can help mitigate some of these challenges.
Food: fruits contain much nutritional value for the human body. Fortunately, things like mango, orange, pawpaw, bananas, etc. are quite plentiful in Liberia. They have natural sugar, which is good for the body. They are better substitutes for candies and other artificial sweets, which can harm the body over time. Thus, parents should make some conscious effort to add them to their family meals at least once a week. Make it a habit of buying fewer chocolates, candies, and giving the kids fruits.
Parents should give the children the softest and best parts of the food. It is better for them. They need the nutrients more, since their immune systems are not fully developed. It is common for the males to receive the healthiest parts of the fish, chicken, meat- while the children get the legs, head and feet. Adults have developed immune systems, the children don’t. parents need to understand how this act affects their children’s health.
Protein: some foods are richer in proteins than others. For our setting, many common foods, in that category are not that expensive- peanuts, xxxxx, xxxxx, fish. Adding them in small quantities to our meals can make a huge difference. For example, regardless of how large one’s family is, a cup of peanut is still less than LD$100, but it can be boiled, steamed, or parched and still go around for everyone. If this is done steadily, at least once or twice a week, it can help improve the number of proteins in the family diet. Proteins are good for growth, XXXX, xxxx, xxx, and xxxx. Children and adults need it.
Healthcare: good food is one of the basics of good health. If we feed our bodies adequately, we reduce the risk of illnesses tremendously. However, there are other practical things to help keep the family healthy.
Often because of financial constraints, parents don’t take their children for medical checkups as regularly as they should. They tend to wait out illnesses until it seems unbearable or physically obvious. By this time, it may be too late. They end up spending more money or worse case, losing that family member. However, it is advisable to observe children keenly and take them to clinics once they repeatedly complain about some health issue. Since it is not practical to go every time, at least take them when the complaints are repeated.
It is also, not advisable to self-medicate. It is common practice to buy drugs and give the children or have people in drug stores recommend drugs for treatment. Pharmacists are trained for special purposes, they are not medical doctors. Moreover, many of those attending these local drugstores are trainees- nursing or otherwise. The simple truth is, “Prevention is better than cure.” Giving our children good, healthy food regularly, and paying attention to their health is preventive, advisable but cheaper in the long run.
Parents should also take their children to a hospital or clinic each time they complain about being sick. Whenever the Children tell you that they have malaria and you go to drugs store to buy medicine for them. Take them to see the doctor at the hospital or clinic. The cost of not doing so could be the life of your child or loved one, which is more expensive.
Clean Environment: because more people live in slums and other congested areas, this can be difficult to do always. Our communities are not as clean as they should be. This is a national problem. However, at home, we have some control.
By doing simple things like washing dishes- make sure no dirty dishes sleepover. Roaches, rodents and other creatures live on the dirt we make. They don’t just eat the food; they lay eggs or defecate in the plates, pans cups, pots, etc. (for many hours at night or when we are away and the house is quiet).
When we wake up, we don’t often use hot or boiled water to clean the dishes. The germs they leave are hard to die. So, we end up eating food in infested dishes.
Our children should be properly fed and mostly served the best parts. Fruits and vegetables are important for them to eat after their regular meal. Some of the food that our children need are peanuts, beans, oranges, plums, bonnie, etc. to build up their bodies. Paying good attention to our families and children will make healthcare better in Liberia. Interestingly, this does not have to be expensive, small, regular quantities can do the trick.
Josephine Seekey, MPA Candidate
University of Liberia Graduate School