Liberia: Disaster Hit Bassa Hospital Received LNRCS Assistance

... LNRCS assesses the impact of fire disaster at the hospital.  

The Liberia National Red Cross (LNRCS) has made a provision of assorted Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which contained 17 different kinds for donation to the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan, Grand Bassa.

A devastating fire disaster on March 3, hit the hospital, the biggest public health facility in the county, leaving critical facilities damaged. The hospital has in the last few years also suffered at least three major fire incidents blamed on electric shocks and other poor infrastructure causes.

The fire reportedly began in the warehouse of the facility, spreading steadily over to the kitchen and the laundry facility leaving every essential material including medical supplies, equipment and cooking utensils damaged.

LNRCS Secretary General, Gregory Blamoh, presents items to hospital authorities

The LNRCS, which dispatched a team last week to make the presentation, said it realized the crucial needs and thought to intervene—adding that the assistance is an effort to keep the facility operational despite the grave setback.

The materials donated include several packs of surgical gloves, cartons of examination gloves, one hundred pieces of washing soap, fifty pieces of bath soap, and bottles of hand sanitizers, handwashing and regular buckets as well as towels. Other items contained in the donation include cartons of goggles, fifty pieces of boot covers, cartons of surgical face masks, thermometers, and a carton of face shield plastic, among others.

The Secretary General of national society, Gregory Blamoh, said the materials are intended for the doctors and nurses to effectively do their work. “The incident is regrettable but we are glad there was no loss of lives during the fire outbreak,” he said.

“This incident was abrupt so we had to mobilize as quickly as possible to come here. These were items that were donated to us and so we have to bring the items here for those who are in dire need of them,” Blamoh told journalists, noting that he could not attach monetary value to the donation as the items were not budgeted for but taken from the LNRCS’s warehouse.

Infection Prevention Control (IPC) materials and other assorted essential medical supplies including scrub suits for Nurses, Aids and Anesthetic wear during medical procedures, especially surgery also got destroyed in the fire and cooking utensils for patients also got burned. “These materials we have donated today contain PPE that might have been exactly some of the items that the hospital may have lost in the fire,” he said.

The fire outbreak has severely disrupted the everyday, routine services of the hospital and since the outbreak, it continues to face serious challenges. This prompted the SG nation’s primary humanitarian responder to send out SOS calls to people of goodwill to donate to the hospital so as to reconstruct it, as it’s the major government referral hospital in the county.

The present ruined state of the hospital, he noted, is a grave setback to the county’s health sector and patients, especially pregnant women as well as sick children. “We are hoping that more people of goodwill will continue to donate to the hospital,” he said.

President George Manneh Weah has committed his government to building a new referral hospital in Grand Bassa County following the devastating fire disaster.

He made the commitment when he paid a visit to the scene to have a firsthand assessment of the situation. The President said the fire incident signaled the need to modernize the electrical installations, and stressed: “We need to get back to the drawing board so we can get a better hospital facility.

Built in 1946, the facility seems to have outlived its usefulness and needed to be modernized to commensurate with modern day realities—an observation that President Weah also made while inspecting the charred remains of the hospital.

“You can see that this Hospital has been in existence since 1946. You will also understand that it needs to be upgraded, and the reason is that anytime there's fire, it means something is obsolete,” the President asserted.

He promised that his administration would endeavor to restore immediate and needful things in the space of 24 hours. Grand Bassa County Assistant Superintendent for Development, Flee A. Glay, who is also the Board Chairman of the hospital, emphasized the need for more assistance to the facility.

“We have been hit hard by this disaster and we are really in need of help,” he said during the Red Cross presentation ceremony.

He described assistance as a kind gesture, noting that it was not a surprise knowing what the Red Cross has and continues to do for affected people and communities during and after disasters and other emergencies.

“On behalf of the County leadership, I am pleased to express sincere gratitude to the Liberian Red Cross for the thoughtfulness and intervention at the time the government hospital has suffered another fire disaster”, Mr. Gray commended.

During the time of the fire outbreak, the hospital had over 43 patients admitted including 16 on the female ward, 11 on the male ward, and 16 on the obstetrics medical and surgical wards.