As confirmation proceedings draw nearer, Health Minister-designate, Dr. Bernice Dahn, continues to get extensive support from professional and medical institutions in the country.
The latest expression of support and solidarity comes from Liberia’s oldest medical association, Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA), headed by Dr. Moses B.F. Massaquoi.
In a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, the LMDA called on the Senate to confirm Dr. Dahn as Liberia’s new Minister of Health.
The letter pointed out that it has been a long road to rebuild Liberia’s health sector to the level preceding the civil war years during which the country was decimated.
The LMDA acknowledged the crucial asset of health workers, who responded admirably and courageously to the Ebola outbreak.
The health workers, the LMDA asserted, demonstrated bravery in the face of fear, hope in the face of despair and compassion in the face of tragedy and they must be commended and honored.
They admitted that although Liberia’s system was not prepared for an outbreak of such magnitude and scope as Ebola, Liberians were able to work together to defeat the deadly virus.
Liberians and their international partners, the LMDA letter stated, made great strides toward driving out the dreadful Ebola disease.
“This would not have been possible without strong leadership from the outset…before the whole country, let alone the rest of the world, realized what was happening and how serious it was,” the LMDA’s letter asserted.
The LMDA further noted that Dr. Dahn fearlessly led the fight against Ebola for several months before international response scaled up to the challenge and any additional support was available to the country.
“Equally as important as her role at the outset, Dr. Dahn has been committed to improving the healthcare system for Liberians for the entirety of the eight years that she has served as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Ministry of Health,” the LMDA maintained.
The LMDA further reminded the Senate that Dr. Dahn has worked tirelessly to promote access to essential health services, ensure that health workers are adequately trained and compensated and struggled continuously to improve efficiency and effectiveness of health sector management.
“Therefore, on behalf of the association, it is our pleasure to write to you today [to give] a strong vote of confidence for the confirmation of Dr. Bernice Dahn as Minister of Health.”
The LMDA also chronicled accomplishments of the Health Minister-designate since the commencement of her tenure of service at the Health Ministry.
The MOHSW, said the LMDA, exceeded the International Monetary Fund’s target of providing Basic Primary Health Services at 71% facilities in the country as part of the completion of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in December 2010.
Under Dr. Dahn’s stewardship, said the LMDA, the 2007-2011 National Health Policy and Plan was able to provide such services at 82% of Primary Healthcare facilities in the country in record time.
Dr. Dahn was the chief architect of the plan to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Liberia was the first sub-Saharan country to achieve MDG4 (reducing child mortality) prior to the deadline, the LMDA declared.
As CMO, Dr. Dahn played a pivotal role in increasing the number of HIV testing sites in the country from 22 to 369.
Her nomination is, therefore, the perfect choice as it allows for continuity of ownership and accountability to sustain and surpass the gains, the LMDA asserted.