As the process leading to post-Ebola reconstruction virtually begins, the international community and partners have begun to figure out how to assist Liberia’s recovery plans.
Several partners have pledged to assist in fixing Liberia’s fragile health system, according to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday.
She disclosed that some partners, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have committed to work with the management of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center and the Ministry of Health to make sure that it is upgraded to a primary referral hospital.
She made the disclosure when she took a guided tour of the facility Monday morning to see the progress of the on-going reconstruction exercise at the center.
JFK, until the construction of the Jackson F. Doe (JFD), memorial referral hospital in Tappita, Nimba County, was Liberia’s only referral hospital since its construction in the 1960s.
Though the health, economic and social fabrics of the country were shattered by the EVD, partners new pledging assistance are primarily interested in the health sector, according to the president.
“One of the things we have been working on with our partners is to make sure that after Ebola we will upgrade all our hospitals and health centers. JFK is a primary and historical one for us,” she said.
The Liberian government and partners are making major investments in the hospital and will not allow the hospital to be destroyed, said the President.
President Sirleaf again called on squatters residing at the back of the JFK Medical Center fence to vacate the area as their continuous presence is adversely impacting the facility.
She said they must relocate as they have blocked the drainage that empties into the Atlantic Ocean, causing the hospital to get flooded during the raining season. “Many persons have built in the swampland against the walls of the hospital. When the raining season comes the hospital gets flooded,” she said.
She, however, said the Liberian government will work with the residents to begin plans for their relocation.
President Sirleaf urged Liberians to keep up the prevention measures against the Ebola virus more aggressively to eliminate the virus from the country.
Regarding the re-emergence of the virus through an infected female from the Caldwell community, President Sirleaf said Liberians will have to accept that it is the nature of the disease. After three weeks of the last infected person being released from the Chinese-run ETU, a new case was reported last Friday of a woman from Caldwell outside Monrovia, who tested positive.
President Sirleaf thanked God that it is only one person that is being traced by the Incident Management System. “So far, we’re very pleased with their response and the ability to contain the virus.”
“I’m very impressed with the improvements made at this hospital, with the staff and their dedication. Many of them that were so good during the period we were fighting the Ebola – are doing a tremendous job,” she said.
JFK’s chief administrator, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald in remarks, said she was delighted by the visit of President Sirleaf and informed her that Liberians are welcome to seek medical attention at the hospital.
She noted that the President’s visit has also assured the Liberian people that the healthcare of the country has returned to normal and the J.F.K. referral/teaching hospital is open and functional and patients should feel free to visit there for treatment.