Nimba County District #1 Representative, Jeremiah K. Koung, has disclosed that the Government of Liberia will be taking over the Esther and Jereline Medical Center popularly referred to as EJ&J Hospital in Ganta in July this year.
Making the disclosure on the local radio morning show in Nimba on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, Representative Koung said he and the government have reached an agreement for the hospital to be turned over to the government for 10 years, beginning July 1, 2020.
He explained that the government taking over is part of his contribution to the society for the health needs of the citizens of Nimba to be addressed free of charge.
Rep. Koung said, the takeover will mean that the hospital is a government hospital and services there will be almost free of charge, something, he said will enable those who cannot afford to go to private hospitals to have access to a public health facility where their health needs will be met.
He didn’t disclose in detail the terms and conditions of the turnover to government but said if everything goes well in the 10-year period, he may turn it over finally to the government with a condition that it must bear his name.
In the agreement, the government will take over the staff when the previous management now has settled salary arrears it owes the employees.
The Esther & Jereline Medical Center in Ganta, commonly known as “E&J Hospital” was constructed by Representative Jeremiah K. Koung upon his ascendancy as Representative of Nimba County in 2011.
The hospital has been one on of modern health centers built in Nimba in recent times, where the wards are decorated with sets of televisions and fully air conditioned. The private wards are well equipped will all modern facilities, including mini icebox, fully air conditioned and a good sanitation system.
The laboratory was one of the best in Nimba, but most these of facilities are longer in good condition as the private ward that was once a place of comfort now dilapidated.
The turnover will be happening when the economy of the country has turned tough to the extent that many institutions including the government are owing employees huge salary arrears; situation that critics say is the underlying factor driving the Representative to lay the burden on the government.
The air-cool system is gradually collapsing, something which critics blame the previous administration on poor management.
On the question of whether the decision is meant to gain political relevance in his pursuit of the county’s senatorial seat in October this year, Representative Koung said the money spent to construct the hospital is huge as compared to what he may get from the Senate in nine years.
“I sold my hotel, which is now Jackie Guest House and lease several properties to construct the hospital,” he said.
“I am not desperate for the senatorial position, rather, I want to make my contribution to other parts of Nimba, like I have previously done in my district,” he said.