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Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 11:23 UK

Signposts to Liberia's recovery

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As part of the Today programme's year long Liberia project, John Humphrys reports on the proliferation of distinctive billboards around Bong County and what they tell us about the country's ambitions.

Relatively few people read the newspapers but huge public billboards populate the side of the roads that tell the population what the government wants them to know, how it wants them to behave.

"Share ideas. Don't miss out. Go to school," reads one.

"Make Liberia gun free. No more guns… but the ballot," reads another, harking back to the civil war which ravaged the country.

Health is a big subject for the billboards: "No woman should die while giving life because you know what to do".

Another one for pregnant women: "Every full belly should be checked for HIV" as Aids is another big killer.

It is estimated that half the hospital beds in sub-Saharan Africa are filled with people suffering the consequences of bad sanitation.

In Liberia, six out of seven people use the bush as their toilet. There is no running water and no sanitation.

But John notes that Liberia is also a country that is now clearly capable of diagnosing its problems.

It knows what needs to be done and it is using the messages on the billboards to proclaim its intentions and exhort its people to move on, he explains.


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