The Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Referral Hospital in Tappita, Lower Nimba County, has informed citizens that the hospital is up to the task to perform almost all medical treatment that may require taking a patient out of the country.
Dr. James A. Sobboh made the disclosure at the dedication of the newly-constructed annexes of the hospital on May 11, adding, “Ghana is here in Tappita, and therefore, I encourage every Liberian to appreciate and utilize what we have, instead of longing for what we don’t have.”
He said the hospital’s services nowadays are one of the best, to include general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics (children), obstetrics and gynecology (women-related problems), emergency services, etc.
“We are in the process of adding oncology and we have started to treat some form of cancer,” he said.
Dr. Sobboh said a full treatment of cancer will start upon the return of one of the doctors from study abroad, “because this hospital is the only one in the country where you can get a CT Scan as well as Pap Smear examinations,” he said.
He explained that the hospital is the only medical facility where one can get a mammogram and, with the dedication of one of the annexes, it will serve as a regional laboratory for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
“We have 15 doctors on our staff, eight of them specialists; two are in residency programs to become specialists,” he said.
Dr. Sobboh also explained that the hospital serves as a training center for residents, interns, nurses, midwives, nurse anesthetics, physician assistants and laboratory technicians.
According to him, the hospital saw about 11, 000 patients, performed a total of about 700 surgeries, general obstetrical and gynecological from July 1, 2017 thru March 2018.
“During the same period, there were 289 CT Scans and 81 pap smears cases. So one does not have to go to Ghana for certain procedures, Ghana is right here in Tappita,” he declared.
He said neurosurgical procedures have already been taken, with the repair of meningocele, insertion of VP shunt, drainage of brain abscesses and subdural hematoma and laminectomies, since the return of Dr. Alvin Nah Doe, a young Liberian neurosurgeon from training abroad.
He added that despite all the activities, the hospital continues to do active surveillance for certain priority diseases and the lab is being developed as a national reference lab and, with support from ACCEL, it will soon obtain international accreditation.
He outlined some of the challenges as being inaccessible to the hospital because of bad roads, inadequate budgetary appropriation, limited private rooms and staff quarters, especially for nurses, long and short-term training for doctors in some of the specialized areas and the high cost to run the power generators, which is estimated at 15 gallons an hour.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah has classified the hospital as Liberia’s only tertiary hospital, where people can get advanced medical treatment.
“When people ask me from outside the country whether Liberia has any tertiary hospital, I can be hesitant in responding, but looking at this facility and services provided, I think we can now boast of having a tertiary hospital,” Minister Jallah said.
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh called on medical practitioners working at the hospital to do more and give priority to the patients. “Patients should come first in whatsoever we do, that’s the only way God will bless us,” he said.