Israeli Medical Delegation Concludes Week-long Visit to Liberia

6
1998
The Israeli medical team (from left): Dr. Ronella Marom, Prof. Ariel Many and Dr. Ronit Almog at Redemption Hospital with Dr. Paul Whesseh, Medical Director of the hospital (Photo: Ziv Koren)

A four-person medical delegation from “Bringing Lives Into the World”, an organization of the Ichilov Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, has concluded a week-long training and assessment tour of four government health facilities in Liberia.

The head of the delegation, Dr. Ronit Almog, told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on Friday, March 22 in Monrovia, that their visit was in response to the recent official visit by President George M. Weah and Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, to Israel earlier this month. The delegation’s visit was also facilitated by the Liberia International Shipping and Corporate Registry (LISCR) Trust.

The during their assessment in Liberia, the team toured four health facilities namely; John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) and the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, as well as the Phebe Hospital and the C. B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Dr. Almog said the main objective of her team’s visit was to conduct a needs assessment that will inform future medical missions to Liberia. She said the expectation of her team is to also see the implementation of a program in Liberia that will reduce the maternal morbidity and mortality, the newborn mortality.

“Israel is one of the countries with the lowest infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the world and therefore, we feel obliged to share our knowledge and experience,” she said.

The delegation also gave lectures and practical instructions and hands-on trainings to professional nurses and doctors and worked with them to develop continuous care for the pregnant mothers, during delivery of the newborn and infant care. Specific training included pregnancy follow-up, identifying high risk women, triage, obstetrical complications and management, fetal monitoring, instrumental deliveries, neonatal assessment and resuscitation, treatment of the newborn during the early neonatal period etc.

“We also conducted a plan to treat the newborn and do follow up during the first few months of life. We brought basic equipment that assists in achieving our goals,” she stated.

In addition to making clinical rounds with the Liberian doctors at the various hospitals and interacting with patients, the medical team provided few medical supplies including latex gloves and face masks, as well as medical devices such as defibrillators, fetal monitors, doppler, blood pressure and saturation monitors, as well as a device for vacuum delivery, which is useful in situations where there is lack of electricity.

“For us,” Dr. Almog stressed, “the most important thing we brought to share is our knowledge and experience, especially on how to use the equipment.”

The team of medical doctors included Dr. Ronit Almog, Director of “Bringing lives into the world” and a specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology for about 20 years; Prof Ariel Many, is a specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology for about 25 years; Dr. Ronella Marom, a Pediatric specialist and subspecialist in Neonatology for 20 years; and Ziv Koren an internationally known documentary photographer whose work has been published in leading magazines, such as Time magazine, and several books and exhibitions.

Though a relatively new organization, Bringing Lives Into the World has done medical missions in Burma, Myanmar and Ethiopia.  In late January, the organization donated 60 beds to the JFK Hospital.

The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) in Israel is also the largest acute care facility in Israel that, treats about 400,000 patients and hosts 1.8 million patient visits per year. It has a 1500-bed world-class governmental academic medical center and serves a population of one million people, including residents from the greater Tel Aviv area and visitors to the metropolis.

The visiting medical delegation said they were very impressed with the doctors they met at the various hospitals, including Dr. Kou Geah of the C.B. Dunbar Hospital, where they spent two and a half days; and Dr. Paul Whesseh, Medical Director of Redemption Hospital. Some of the doctors they met, Dr. Almog said, “have a high degree of commitment to the communities they serve.” Generally, especially from the team’s interactions with patients, she noted that there are people with a passion for positive change, in spite of the less fortunate conditions in which they find themselves.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Weah’s recent trip to the state of Israel has begun bearing fruits. The visit of three Israeli medical doctors to Liberia is a typical example of that visit. Thank you. Also, special thanks ought to be given to Dr. Jallah and of course, the Israeli medical team. Little progress translates into progress.

  2. These are some of the great developments Lewis Browne intended to undermine and even prevent through his hypocritical, and bad faith diplomacy at the UN. It was a fine decision on rhe part of Monrovia to have recalled him without any hesitation.

  3. Israel is a nice and friendly country. I was there in 1988 on a scholarship to study community development cooperatives organization. They are advanced in almost every area of development. I hope that Liberia can take advantage and seek more assistance from the state of Israel.

  4. Did Former Ambassador Brown act alone in voting against Israel at the United Nations? Remember that Liberia is a founding member of the African Union. Before you come out to attack and criticize, please do your research. I think the action to vote against Israel took place before President Weah was elected. All ambassadors at the United Nations take orders from their respective leaders or governments.

  5. What a wonderful gesture of goodwill on the part of Israel. However, a gesture is a gesture. One must call a spade a spade. What happens next when these visitors depart? We are often caught-up in the same old vicious cycle.

    We cannot continue to depend on other nations to use their resources to build our infrastructures for us, while our leaders perform daylight robbery and thus shift valuable revenues that could bed used for national development to private and corrupt ventures.

    I wonder, what is the source of our tunnel vision? Can’t Weah’s government see that all these advanced countries that have their ambassadors and consulates represented in Monrovia, are following up the news about all the financial controversies and malfeasance in government? Can’t they see that these offices do give feedback to their home governments about such developments?

    It is wishful thinking to believe that our leaders will squander the nation’s resources, while we expect our foreign partners to do those things that we can do for ourselves. Yes, foreign assistance will come; but it will come in forms of drops in the bucket. After all, these nations do have their own challenges too. And yet, because they truly love their countries and cultures, they are able to overcome those challenges with tenacity and great fortitude.

    What if the millions that that are secretively diverted, to the building of private palaces and mansions, were used to provide scholarships for the education of consultants to be trained in tropical medicine and the cure of dreadful diseases, internal medicine; eye care; pre-natal care; the detection, prevention, and cure of children’s illnesses?

    What if the millions that are secretively diverted, were used to build regional medical centers throughout the fifteen political subdivisions, instead of focusing all the national resources on Monrovia alone? I wonder, if this government has truly scoped the magnitude of the national challenges before it.

    International relations are sometimes like personal relations. One must respect and love himself/herself first, and then he/she can expect love and respect from others. Our inter-personal relations at home have demonstrated to the outside world that Liberia has aged, but has not matured.

  6. Mr. Right.To.Be.Anonymous

    Thanks for your insights.

    As I read through your brief essay, my mind ran on a relationship between a father and his son. The father has tried during numerous instances to teach the son financial responsibility by giving him some liberal amounts every time he asks for it; and every time he does it, the son spends it unwisely, and he never gives report of how he spends it. Will the father be blamed for dosing out some kind of tough love to the son to teach him a lesson? No.

    Such is the case with Liberia and her foreign donors including her traditional allies. The headlines in the Liberian news as usual, are always topped by news of earth-shaking financial scandals.

    How old we are comparable to other African nations and still we have not learnt from our national tragedies and social malaise.

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