The Esther and Jerlyn Hospital in Ganta, Nimba County, has launched a program guaranteeing free health care services for pregnant women until they deliver.
Speaking to the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview in Ganta recently, the hospital’s administrator, Lawrence Tozay, said since the hospital was inaugurated on July 1, 2016, 80 percent of their patients have been women and children.
He said as women and children form one the most vulnerable groups, the hospital’s board decided to introduce the system to reduce maternal deaths and other complications women face, and to also help alleviate the numerous health issues that afflict pregnant women.
He said many women suffer from neglect and poverty, with the poor condition of the nation’s roads also preventing them from reaching the hospital for help when they are pregnant.
“We observed that most of our women cannot afford clinical fees, thus leading them to beg and others are even neglected by their loved ones. So we decided to launch this program to help meet their hospital needs,” he said.
“This initiative is part of our program called ‘A Mission for Rural Women’s Health’ that is expected to be launched very soon,” he said.
He further explained that the free health care service for women started on February 1, and will continue to include another phase to cover children under 5.
He thanked the government for providing subsidies to the hospital, which was initially used to provide free health care to pregnant women.
“We are willing to do more for our people, if we receive the assistance from any well wisher or philanthropist,” he said.
The hospital’s administrator revealed that the free clinical care will cover registration, laboratory tests and free drugs until the women give birth, “but if there is any complication that will require surgical operation a minimal fee will be charged.”
The E&J Medical Center is a modern hospital with about 115 beds. Every ward is equipped with an air conditioner, ceiling fans and TV; a mini refrigerator is an added convenience in the private wards.
“We spend about 56 gallons of diesel to run the generators and the ambulance and we also provide three meals to our patients daily,” the administrator said.
The administrator meanwhile called on well-wishers and the government to provide additional assistance to the hospital to continue the free clinical service to Liberians, especially the women and children.
“If we get the needed help, we will treat the patients and then transport them to their various homes free of charge,” Mr. Tozay said.
“Currently, our ambulance services is free of charge and we bring more advanced ambulances that can challenge the bad roads so we will be able to cover the entire county,” he said.
The hospital currently has two medical doctors, a gynecologist and general practitioner, but will need at least four doctors, “even visiting doctors.”
The medical center was built by Rep. Jeremiah Kpan Koung of Nimba County District # 1.