18,000 Liberians to Benefit from World Bank US$3m Psychosocial Project

first_imgThe Liberian government and the World Bank Group (WB), in partnership with the Government of Japan, have launched a new US$3m project to address the effects of the Ebola crisis and promote psychosocial health in the country.“Over 18,000 persons in Montserrado and Margibi Counties will benefit from the three-year project, which will also support capacity building of existing cadres of mental health providers,” said Ms. Inguna Dobraja of the World Bank Group.Making the disclosure yesterday at the World Bank office in Monrovia, Country Manager Dobraja explained that the launch of the US$3 million project is a milestone, “in our joint efforts as Liberia experiences a reduction of new Ebola cases throughout the country.”“The Psychosocial Health and Resilience project,” the WB Country Manager said, “will respond to the most urgent psychosocial and mental health needs resulting from the Ebola crisis and will also contribute to building psychological resilience at the individual and community level.”  Ms. Dobraja lauded the Japanese Government for supporting the project, and expressed optimism for “a smooth working relationship with the Ministry of Health and the Carter Center during the implementation of the project.”In her remarks, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia and Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice Dahn, said the support of the World Bank will ease the psychosocial impact of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.The Health Ministry also recognized the contribution of the Carter Center in training over 100 mental health clinicians who are currently providing services in the various counties,” she said.The Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, Kaoru Yoshimura, underscored his government’s continued commitment to eradicating the Ebola Virus Disease from Liberia.According to him, the Government of Japan has, to date, contributed more than US$100m to fight the virus, adding that out of this amount, the World Bank has been allocated US$20m to support an Ebola Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund for Liberia.“Japan will continue to support ‘post-Ebola’ initiatives based on our understanding that recovery in the society from the damage is significant for resilience,” the Ambassador declared.“We would like to contribute to post-Ebola matters together with the Government and people of Liberia.  A (stable) psychosocial condition is needed for the people of Liberia to bounce back from the effects of Ebola,” he maintained.He promised that Japan will continue to support Liberia’s efforts especially in the areas of infrastructure, such as power, roads, health, education and food security, as well as capacity building of the people.Dr. Janice Cooper, the Carter Center’s Project Lead for its Mental Health Program in Liberia, explained that the Ebola outbreak in the country increased mental health and psychosocial issues of individuals and communities, and the project represents an opportunity to help heal the psychosocial consequences it left behind.Said Dr. Cooper, “The project’s innovative interventions will also help foster resilient individuals and communities that can contribute to the country’s recovery and development.”In remarks, Dr. Rianna Mohammed-Roberts, World Bank Senior Health Specialist and Bank Task Team Leader responsible for Liberia’s health portfolio, emphasized that Montserrado and Margibi Counties were badly hit by the virus and such a program will greatly alleviate the issue of mental health problems.“The Japanese Social Development Fund will help mitigate the psychosocial impact of Ebola virus in Liberia,” she noted, adding that implementation of interventions will incorporate counseling, community dialogues and anti-stigma campaigns.”At the ceremony were Gender and Development Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, other Health Ministry officials, officials of the Justice Ministry, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), development partners and project beneficiaries.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ex-South American soccer boss watches FIFA trial from afar

first_img0Shares0000The former head of the Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL), Nicolas Leoz, shown here in 2013, is under house arrest on US charges in the FIFA corruption case but extradition attempts have thus far failed © AFP/File / Norberto DUARTEASUNCION, Paraguay, Nov 14 – When the FIFA corruption trial kicked off in New York this week, ex-South American soccer boss Nicolas Leoz was a significant absentee, watching from the comfort of his home in Paraguay.Leoz, one of the main suspects in the huge bribery and money laundering scandal being investigated by the US Justice Department, is where any 89-year old is content to be, albeit under house arrest. The former president of the Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL) is suspected of receiving millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for marketing and TV rights for games. He denies any wrongdoing and his legal team has so far frustrated all attempts to extradite him.Forty-two officials and marketing executives, and three companies, were indicted in an exhaustive 236-page complaint detailing 92 separate crimes and 15 corruption schemes to the tune of $200 million.Along with Brazilians Joao Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira and the Argentine Julio Grondona, Paraguay’s Leoz held the reins of South American football from the 1980s until 2013.“They were the masterminds of corruption in South American football. They are the ones who should be on trial,” says Andrew Jennings, author of the book “The Dirty Game: Uncovering the Scandals at FIFA.”– Bribes or commissions? –Leoz has been fighting extradition since shortly after seven FIFA executives were arrested by Swiss police in June.He was admitted to hospital for a heart condition while his successor as CONMEBOL chief, Eugenio Figueredo, was being arrested in Geneva.He was later detained by police in Paraguay and placed under house arrest in the capital Asuncion, where CONMEBOL is based.But he remains a powerful figure in Paraguay.Along with a string of business interests, he owns the hospital to which he was admitted. He has a suite on the top floor of the ultra-modern Sanatorio Migone and his son-in-law is the director.The chances of him being extradited to face trial are nil, according to his lawyer.Leoz “is 89, is in delicate health, which is worsening over time. He has nursing care 24 hours a day. He hasn’t traveled by plane for the last four years,” said lawyer Ricardo Preda.“We are convinced that the extradition request will not succeed,” he said.“Without going into the substance of the matter, the facts he is accused of in the United States are not punishable in Paraguay,” said Preda.The alleged bribes are considered as commissions in South America because the money involved was a transaction between private individuals, he added. It’s only an offense if they are paid to a public body or to a civil servant, the lawyer said.– Support for Qatar –CONMEBOL has filed its own suit against Leoz for breach of trust, criminal association and money laundering.“CONMEBOL carried out an audit, which highlighted transfers of more than 110 million dollars from CONMEBOL to accounts held by Nicolas Leoz, validated by the executive committee, without supporting documents,” the South American soccer body’s lawyer Osvaldo Granada told AFP.“The sums were received on his personal accounts, then transferred to companies in the United States,” he said.“Unfortunately, the Paraguayan justice has delayed the investigations.”The association is also pressing charges against Leoz’s successor, Figueredo.According to FIFA, Leoz is also one of several officials suspected of receiving bribes to support the Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.In Asuncion, the father of our lives with his second wife, a Colombian half his age, in the exclusive Villa Mora district.A journalist by training, he ran Paraguay’s Libertad football club in the 1970s. They play their home games at the “Estadio Nicolas Leoz”.In that era, said CONMEBOL’s new president Alejandro Dominguez, “the objective was money and football was a means to obtain it.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more