The management of the comprehensive Outpatient Medical Center at the ELWA Junction in Paynesville, said the center has opened its doors to provide world-class diagnostic and specialty clinical services to Liberia and the West-African Sub-region, a statement issued over the weekend said.
Commissioned as a private investment by the National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP), the facility was named after the grandfather of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during whose administration the project was completed.
Jahmale’s facility was constructed by the Liberian-owned Muson Group, and comprises a three-story imaging and laboratory building with an adjoining four-story outpatient clinic and pharmacy building.
The center, according to the statement, is truly an all-inclusive medical complex to serve diagnostic and outpatient specialty needs, adding, “This new state-of-the-art facility introduces much needed advanced laboratory and imaging diagnostics to thousands of citizens who have limited access to quality diagnostic services at an affordable cost.”
It gives all Liberians the ability to obtain their testing and specialist follow-up in one integrated center in the heart of Montserrado County. It is a common practice for Liberians to seek treatment outside of the country. However, with this new leap in the ability to locally provide accurate testing and diagnostics to patients, Liberia is surely poised to provide excellent in-country medical care and to become the newest destination for regional medical tourism.
It was with this goal in mind that NASSCORP fulfilled its vision to conceive a fully-equipped and specialist-staffed diagnostic center.
NASSCORP’s Director General Dewitt vonBallmoos said at the open house that the facility will save the citizens and residents a huge amount of money spent on foreign travels for medical purposes.
“It will also enable technology and specialized skills to be transferred to local Liberian staff, contribute to capacity building and attract Liberian medical professionals to return home from the diaspora,” he said.
The facility, he said, is solely owned by NASSCORP and was funded by the working population of the country, through their contributions to the social security scheme.
Mr. vonBallmoos confirmed that valid social security card carriers will receive a ten percent discount on services at the center, but many of the professionals, who work at Jahmale, were brought in from other countries, including Ghana and South Africa.
According to Mr. VonBallmoos, there is a two-year knowledge and capacity building agreement, after which the facility will be fully turned over to Liberians to run, noting, “Each technical and medical professional has a Liberian counterpart that they are mentoring. The goal is that at the end of the two years, the center will be run entirely by Liberians.”
Jahmale’s Chief Executive Officer, Johannes Bekker, at the Open House event on Monday, December 3, said the facility has recruited the best medical and diagnostic professionals to provide the needed services to the public.
“We want to assure the public that we have the best of services to offer to the Liberian people. We have the requisite professionals to cater to your health needs,” Mr. Bekker said.
He noted that the facility is aiming to set the national standard for quality of care and reliability of diagnostic results, by providing world class customer service and access to the best medical technology.
“We strive to deliver the highest quality service through state of the art technology solutions and management systems,” Bekker said.
The Clinical Director of the facility, Dr. Nicole Cooper, at a brief cocktail event, said in the diagnostic center, “we have radiology services that include, CT-Scan, MRI, Digital X-Ray, Mammogram [to detect breast cancer], Ultrasound and EKG. There is also an extensive laboratory that is open to the public, but also functions as a corporate laboratory for other medical facilities in the country.”
“On the clinical side, we have specialists that include pediatricians, internists, an an Obstetrician/Gynecologist who staff our Women’s Health Clinic. We provide outpatient specialist visits from 8:a.m.-5:p.m. from Monday to Friday; and 8:a.m.-12 noon on Saturday. The lab is also open from Monday to Friday to receive patients or specimens,” she said, adding, “Patients may either walk in directly with their doctors’ orders to get their labs or radiology services or health facilities may send their patients’ specimens along with the doctors’ orders and contact information.”
Dr. Cooper said that Jahmale as an organization, will set the standard for medical care in the country—the standard for how advanced diagnostic and specialty care should be delivered.
“We know that the availability of our diagnostic services will ultimately impact the way that medicine is practiced throughout the country, even at other medical facilities,” she said and noted further, “By being able to provide diagnostic services, we are able to fine-tune diagnoses for the improved treatment of patients’ illnesses.”
“We aim to become the dominant force in healthcare services in the country and region and increase accessibility of a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services by developing strong networks with doctors, hospitals, clinics and insurance companies,” noted Dr. Cooper.
Jahmale’s Diagnostics Operations Manager, Mrs. Rosemary Mankattah, said that diagnostics has important implications for patient care and, as such, the facility has brought only state-of-the-art equipment into the country,
When a diagnosis is accurate and made in a timely manner, Mrs. Mankattah said, a patient has the best opportunity for a positive health outcome, because clinical decision making will be tailored to the correct understanding of the patient’s health problem.
“We are patient-centered; we have qualified Biomedical Scientists, Technologists, Radiographers as well as a team of qualified Radiologists to run the Diagnostic department.” She noted that the facility’s turnaround time for the laboratory ranges from two hours to five days depending on the test requested.
“With our imaging, we have a team of radiologists to whom all images would be transferred through the internet for reporting, which would be received within 2 – 48 hours, depending on the request,” she said.
Mrs. Mankattah said that management is currently arranging with one of the courier services to assist in transporting samples received out to a referral facility in South Africa.
“This is meant to ensure that the few tests received that we are unable to run here, can be sent out to other credible facilities for results. Our doors are open to the general public to experience excellent, unparalleled and unprecedented services.”
Meanwhile, the imaging equipment for the Jahmale facility includes: Toshiba Helical CT Scan; Hitachi Open MRI; Canon/Delft Digital X-Ray machine and Planed clarity Mammography (Mammogram); Hitachi Ultra Sound Machine and a Mortara EKG Machine.
The facility also has a wide range of laboratory equipment, including Clinical Chemistry, Hematology and Immunoassay analyzers, Microbiology/hematology binocular microscopes, a Heratherm advanced incubator and other molecular biology and pharmaceutical equipment and supplies. Other equipment available include laboratory freezers and chillers; a pure urine microbiology chemistry analyzer; a water purification system; centrifuges; and clinical routers.
According to management, the facility also has its own “Medical Waste Incinerator” for on-site waste disposal.