Liberia: MOH, WHO End Emergency Health Care Assessment

WHO team and along with other health workers during the assessment in Bong County.  

A team of Health experts from the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Washington DC, and the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) has concluded a two-day emergency healthcare assessment in Monrovia. 

The assessment aimed to develop a strategic plan for strengthening the emergency and critical care systems in Liberia. It also looked at the implementation plan for the highest priority actions, proposed training in WHO’s Basic Emergency Care course, and explored the possible launch of GETI in Liberia, from May to September of this year. 

The assessment is being developed by the WHO and its partners to help low middle-income countries to have a complete situation analysis of their emergency healthcare system and how to improve upon it. 

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Health Workers who attended the climax of the 3-day emergency Health Care assignment 

This came into being when Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, thought it wise to engage WHO headquarters in Washington DC and asked for assistance for the country’s health sector. 

“With the fast-moving pace of modernization and development, Liberia will need a system in place to address the disadvantages that could follow. With the construction and expansion of new roads from Monrovia to Nimba, the ongoing RIA highway, the rise in commercial motorcycles, and many more, we need adequate ambulances and emergency departments manned by skilled practitioners for proper pre-hospital and in-hospital care. 

“On behalf of the President and as Minister of Health, I do assure you of team Liberia’s fullest cooperation to strengthen basic emergency care services throughout the length and breadth of Liberia”, Dr. Jallah expressed during the opening. 

Prior to the two days meeting, the team, along with the Ministry of Health, conducted an assignment tour of major health facilities in Montserrado and Bong Counties. 

However, the tour of these health facilities was aimed at understanding how the available system works and what can be done to better improve it.

The tour kickoff on May 2, 2022, at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC) in Monrovia with a brief PowerPoint presentation of what the team intends to do through the Ministry of Health (MOH) at various referral hospitals. 

This assignment dug out the basis and analysis of where Liberia stands as a country in terms of its emergency health care services and as well provide a strategic planning process to find a way forward. 

At the JFK Medical Center, the team met with doctors from their different departments including medical students who witnessed the presentation from WHO. 

Dr. Jerry Yekeh Browne, Chief Executive Officer JFKMC in a brief conversation with journalists following the tour of the facility 

Speaking during the tour of the grounds of the JFKMC, Dr. Jerry Yekeh Browne lauded the team for their visit and described it as a great boost to the health sector of Liberia. “They are here to do an assessment and, at the end of the day, they will train health workers at referral hospitals, so that they can be more proactive in providing emergency health care services to patients,” said Dr. Browne.  

According to him, the assignment also looked at what various health centers have in place in terms of emergency care services and then critiqued them, as well as made some recommendations to the Ministry for better improvement of the system. Dr. Browne said the team also wants to ensure that the available emergency tools are up to standard. 

Dr. Browne: “I hope the training of our health care workers will improve their ability as they build on the existing knowledge and skills. We also hope to have our ambulances well equipped to appropriately transport patients from the various communities to the referral hospital.”  

Meanwhile, Dr. Jefferson Sibley, Chief Executive Officer of Phebe Hospital in Bong County, appreciated the team for coming to Liberia. “We think your coming here today is timely because we have been wishing for this for so long,” he said.  

He outlined the lack of ambulances to respond promptly to emergency cases, a situation he said has resulted in many deaths.  He also named the lack of electricity to supply proper pipe-borne water to important areas.

Assistant Minister George Jacobs declared the gathering closed.

“We don’t have a good system put in place here, to even transport patients from the accident scene to the referral hospital is a challenge and, as a result, most of them die. If you look at the deaths, almost 25% of deaths that occur comes from our ER situation,” Dr. Sibley disclosed. 

However, the two-day ongoing stakeholder meeting brought together health workers from various health facilities in Monrovia.

Finally, Assistant Minister George Jacobs, declaring the gathering closed, thanked the team from WHO for always remembering Liberia. On behalf of the Minister of Health, he committed the Ministry’s support in working with every document adopted during the gathering.