“It is our hope that as we receive this new facility, the problem of turning away patients because of lack of space will be addressed,” Dr. Jerry Brown, Medical Director at the ELWA Hospital, stated last Saturday while addressing the dedicatory ceremony of the newly erected facility spearheaded and financed by the Christian organization, Samaritan’s Purse.
The magnificent hospital stands across from the old ELWA Hospital, which was built and opened in 1965, with Dr. Robert Schindler, a young surgeon, as its first Chief Medical Officer.
Dr. Jerry Brown, the hospital’s current Medical Director, known as one of Liberia’s Ebola heroes for his celebrated and highly successful management of one of the Ebola crises in Liberia, said “It is now time to look beyond the facility to build a resilient healthcare delivery system that will be impactful to people of the country.”
He emphasized that at the time they operated in a facility with less space, many good Liberians and others died from curable diseases. Since the facility is now expanded, they are hopeful of overcoming those confronting problems that claimed more lives in the past.
Dr. Brown also stressed the need for attractive salaries and benefits for doctors and health workers in the country, pointing out that in the presence of modern and well equipped health facilities, coupled with motivated health workers, the expected healthcare delivery system will be built.
Dr. Brown expressed optimism that assistance from Samaritan’s Purse and other partners in conjunction with government’s development agenda will soon cause other countries to refer patients to Liberia, rather than Liberia continually sending patients to other countries including Ghana, Nigeria and the United States.
He then called on the facility’s Liberian workers to help maintain it a new standard so that its funders will not see it in a dilapidated condition in the future.
He added that with the availability of the new facility, they will soon install their microscopic panel in the laboratory to enhance testing, and will recruit and train more medical doctors and Physician Assistants to meet the health needs of Liberians.
Samaritan’s Purse Liberia Country Director Kendell Kauffeldt, in a historical overview of the project, noted that the hospital is also meant for spiritual healing as it enhances the spread of the true word of God so that Liberians will be able to put their trust in Him.
The SPL Country Director added that budgetary support is also needed to help continue operations at the hospital.
The erection of the modern health facility is coming at the time when the Liberian government is striving to build its vulnerable healthcare system, exposed and severely tested by Ebola in 2014.
In consonance with the SPL Country Director, Rev. Dr. Franklin Graham, Chief Executive Officer of Samaritan’s Purse, said the project serves as a channel for spreading the word of God to the people of Liberia, “and those that are working there should reflect Jesus Christ in their output to enlighten Liberians about the true word of God.” Franklin Graham is son of the renowned Christian evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham, who is now retired and 98.
In her remarks, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recalled the cardinal role of the ELWA Hospital during the health epidemic that struck the country two years ago, acknowledging that the premises were used to build the first Ebola treatment center, where patients were transferred.
President Sirleaf also commended Samaritan’s Purse for building and rehabilitating airstrips around the country, including a new one in Lofa County and a rehabilitated one in Tappita, Nimba County.
She commended the Christian organization for the modern healthcare facility that she said will complement government’s effort to build a resilient health sector following Ebola.
The dedication was also witnessed by Vice President and Mrs. Joseph Boakai; Senator Peter Coleman, MD, and Chair of the Senate Health and Medical Committee; Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn; Attorney General Frederick Cherue and other government officials; the Deputy
Chief of Missions of the United States Embassy and other Embassy staff; and other distinguished personalities.
William Eiphick, former ELWA Director, in an exclusive interview, expressed delight for the facility which funding, he said, came from several Christian organizations around the world.
Although he could not state how much was invested in the facility, but said it took a huge amount of money to bring it to where it is. He expressed the hope that Liberians are going to maintain it in line with the rationale for which it was erected.
ELWA staff Oretha Nyounuway also expressed happiness for the new facility and said it will help to reduce the space constraint that had confronted them over the years.
The newly dedicated ELWA health facility comes next to the 100-bedroom Jackson Fiah Doe (JFD) Memorial Hospital in Nimba and the John F. Kennedy Hospital, the largest referral hospital in the country.
The new ELWA Hospital was built by a Liberian-owned firm, the CJ Construction Incorporated.
In a turnover remark, the Senior Managing Partner of CJ Construction, James Johnson, dispelled notion by some that Liberians are not honest in working and do not put out good performance.
He said the modern facility funded by Samaritan’s Purse was built by Liberians without outside input.