It’s approximately fifty (50) days now since Liberia tested and announced its first positive Coronavirus case in the Country.
Since the pronouncement on 13 March this year, the administration of soccer legend, George Manneh Weah on April 10, announced a 21-day state of emergency and a 14-day partial lockdown in four Counties, including the current epicenter, Montserrado.
As a result of the pandemic that is ravaging global health systems, many disadvantaged and impoverished Liberians particularly single Mothers are feeling the pinch as having access to basic social services is getting increasingly difficult.
Some of the challenges range from social marginalization to gender equality and financial insecurity.
To provide for their children and other relatives, these women most of whom are illiterate, have no choice but to go to the densely populated Red Light market to trade despite the presence of a perilous disease, Corona.
Red-light market is the biggest commercial district in Liberia that plays host to hundreds of thousands of marketers and buyers from across the Country.
For sure, this compulsory street peddling puts them at a very high risk of contracting the virus due to exposure.
For instance, a single mother only identified as Kou of Nimba County told KMTV news, she shoulders the daily responsibility of providing for a home of five (5) people including, her dad, aunt and three children.
“I take care of my dad, my sick aunt and my three children. I am also responsible for almost all home services such as preparing meals, going to the market and many others”, Kou noted.
According to her they have had many tussles with officers of the Liberia National Police who were attempting to get them off the streets in the Red Light market as the 3pm deadline approached.
Kou is quoted as saying, “some of our friends have vowed not to leave the market even if they continue to be beaten by the police.
“The government told us to stay home without giving us food or any other thing to feed our children forgetting to know that some of us are not married and this is what we do to feed our children. We can’t sit down and watch them starve. Even if police beat on us, we won’t leave until we get food on our tables”, Yassah Flomo and Naiwah Yarkpawolo noted.
A week ago, the Legislature approved President Weah’s stimulus package proposal to impact citizens in the hot zones of the virus in the case of a complete lockdown.
It is hoped that these challenges confronting Liberians especially single Mothers would be addressed through this stimulus package, something that has the ability to prevent them from going to hot zones to contrast the virus.