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Liberia: keep life-saving healthcare free

Like 5,000 other Save the Children supporters, I was outraged at the idea that children in one of the world’s poorest countries should have to pay to see a nurse.

So, last week, I went to Whitehall to hand in our petition to International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The petition called for the UK Government to keep investing in Liberia, so that children will see nurses without having to pay.

Baby Siana at a Save the Children clinic in Liberia
When six-month-old Siana came to our clinic in Liberia she was diagnosed with pneumonia and given the treatment she needed to recover from this life-threatening illness.

We know how important it is to receive healthcare, free at the point of use. Children like baby Siana, who survived pneumonia, are among millions who are alive today because they were able to see a nurse when they needed one. It breaks my heart to think that any child might die because their parents don’t have enough money.

We launched this campaign for two reasons.

Firstly because Save the Children staff are concerned that the government of Liberia is considering bringing back cash payments for some health services. We know that these prevent the poorest people from getting the care they need and cost a lot to administer – so we want to do all we can to stop this.

Secondly, Britain’s support for Liberia’s health sector is due to come to an end next March. Liberia has made a lot of progress in reducing children’s deaths but there is still a long way to go. So we’re calling on the government to keep supporting health in Liberia after March 2014 and do all it can to help keep healthcare free at the point of use.

The Government has to act

We turned up at Whitehall with an enormous sign, spelling out your support for this campaign. And we handed in our letter, detailing exactly why the UK needs to continue supporting Liberia. We’ll let you know what response we get.

We haven’t won this campaign yet, but we will. If enough of us come together, all around the world, and tell our politicians that this matters to us, they will have to act.

It’s outrageous that in the 21st century, children can die just because their family doesn’t have enough money. A healthy start is every baby’s right, not a privilege. I think that’s why so many of you cared about this issue.

November is an opportunity to get our views heard

In November, politicians from every country will meet in Brazil to discuss the global health crisis. There’s been enormous progress on children’s survival rates over the last 20 years but there is still a massive global shortfall of doctors and nurses. We can’t let this opportunity go to waste. In every country, our supporters are writing to their ministers to ask them to make sure all children can see a nurse, whether they have money or not.

Please join them today. For Siana. For Liberian children. For every boy and girl, everywhere, because they deserve decent healthcare.

Please take action now.

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