As well as maintenance, laboratory equipment
Liberia’s deteriorating health system has become an open secret to the extent that the administration of the country’s premier referral hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, (JFK), in Monrovia, has continued to be faced with enormous challenges in service delivery and in its ability to provide full tertiary care to influx (arrival) of patients.
This is due to the hospital’s lack of essential medical equipment, specialists and the deterioration of over 50 percent of its facilities, including the Catherine Mills Mental Rehabilitation Center and the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA).
With this overhead burden, JFK Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Jerry F. Brown and his deputy, Mrs. Dama Yekeson-Koffa, have jointly begged the Joint Budget Committee of the Legislature for an increment of US$2 million to be added to the US$5,645,440 allotted in the draft 2019/2020 Budget for the center.
The duo, who were accompanied by the hospital’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Lucielle D. Harvey, appeared before members of the joint committee on Wednesday, August 22, 2019 in the Joint Chamber of the Capitol Building, and defended their 2018/2019 spending. They thereafter proposed an increment in the 2019/2020 Budget.
A similar appeal for increment in JFK’s allotment was made last year for US$2.5 million to be added on the US$5,076,924 in the 2018/2019 Budget to complete the renovation of the hospital, including the 4th floor (for bed in-patients), but only US$1 million was added, totaling US$6,076,924.
Primarily, according to Dr. Browne, the desired augmentation will be used for laboratory consumables, drugs and medical equipment as well as repair and maintenance of facilities.
Among the challenges facing JFK are the renovation of the wings on the 4th floor east, 3rd floor east, 2nd floor east and west; renovation and rehabilitation laboratory; the establishment of a blood bank unit, and the rehabilitation and equipping of a neonatal unit.
Others are the rehabilitation of the cholera unit, building and equipping of an intensive care unit (ICU), rehabilitation of the trauma unit for dialysis equipment as well as the equipping of the eight operating rooms/theaters.
Further challenges involve equipping the imaging center with mammogram, an ultra sound machine and a digital x-ray machine; construction of a maternity out-patient department, replacing of galvanized pipes with Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCS), and hiring specialists.
Research has established that PVCs are extra heartbeats that begin in one of human heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles), which disrupt regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing the victim to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in the chest.
Meanwhile, as the government begins to effect the harmonization process, to ensure equity in the pay scale and job classification of civil servants, as well as a cut in the salaries of senior government officials as is evident of payments for the months of July and August 2019, members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, August 22, locked themselves in secret sessions to finalize the ‘decisions.’
The secret session caused the budget hearing to begin late, and so the JFK hearing was held. Another reason was due to the funeral of late River Gee Senator Cllr. Frederick Cherue.
Thursday’s secret session was based on the first item on the agenda, which called for a preliminary report from the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and Public Accounts and Expenditure and Budget.
Sources informed the Daily Observer that some members of the House of Representatives are yet to arrive at a unanimous agreement on the issue of the “salary cut.” This is the second secret session in a week, sources said.
The first secret session was held on Tuesday, August 20, on the eight revised proposals, but there were heated and divided debates on the amendment of some sections of the 1986 Constitution.
At a recent executive and legislative joint retreat, President George Weah presented to lawmakers proposals to amend certain articles of the Constitution.