‘JFK Has Many Inadequacies’

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center in Sinkor, has many inadequacies in terms of equipment and staffing that need immediate attention. The President expressed the belief that addressing these weaknesses could only be done through partnership and cooperation.

She welcomed the initiative of a team from the Apollo Hospitals Group to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the John F. Kennedy Medical Center. “Your coming enables us to initiate a structured partnership, which is a very welcomed development,” the Liberian leader said, adding that it is a great opportunity for the country that must be taken advantage of.

 The Liberian leader made the statement when a three-member team of the Apollo Hospitals Group paid her a courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry Office on Friday, February 21.

President Sirleaf admitted: “JFK Medical Center has a lot of inadequacies in terms of equipment and staffing, among other things, but if Apollo Hospitals Group can provide capacity-building support for JFK doctors and other medical staff, it would enhance their own capacity to perform better.”

“If you look back from where JFK and the nation have come since 2006, then you know JFK was non-functional compared to where it is today. If we can promote this partnership, especially to enhance training opportunities, it would be a good endeavor,” President Sirleaf said.  She suggested that, after the MOU is signed, both parties should include timelines to ensure they know their obligations and meet them on time.

 The members of team on a three-day assessment visit to Liberia, at the invitation of Honorary Consul General of India to Liberia, Mr. Upjit Singh Sacheva, were Senior General Manager-Corporate Development Business Head for Africa, Dr. Harinder Singh Sidhu; Senior Consultant Neurologist, Dr. (Professor) Pushpendra Renjen; and Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Feroz Pasha.

 Their visit to Liberia is the result of President Sirleaf’s September 2013 trip to India where she encouraged Indian businessmen and other well-meaning entrepreneurs to come to Liberia and explore investment opportunities.

 The head of the three-member team, Dr. Sidhu, said they were looking forward to learning how the Liberian health sector, especially the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, could build long-term cooperation with the Apollo Hospitals Group that would include capacity building and training.

“We are looking at how we can work with our brothers and sisters from other countries to develop their health systems,” he said, adding that in their respective careers they have learned much and found it worthwhile to share their experiences with others.

 Dr. Sidhu said his team met with several health officials, including the Minister of Health, authorities at the JFK Medical Center, and other health stakeholders. He expressed his appreciation for the work that the government referral hospital is doing, despite its constraints and limitations. Dr. Sidhu spoke of his institution’s willingness to provide training opportunities to Liberian health practitioners to travel to India for advanced training in different spheres of medicine.

 He informed the Liberian leader that during their stay, they held a series of lectures with Liberian resident doctors, whom they found eager to learn and understand. During the visit the three doctors organized a medical camp with Liberian doctors. They screened about 70 patients with various kinds of ailments.

 Dr. Sidhu thanked President Sirleaf for meeting with the team, and said his institution looks forward to building a long- term relationship with the JFK Medical Center.

Apollo Hospitals Group is Asia’s largest healthcare provider. The Group owns and manages over 10,000 hospital beds across 54 hospitals in strategic locations. The Apollo Group has evolved as an integrated healthcare delivery system with expertise in managing hospitals, clinics, hospital project consultancy, healthcare IT and internet based technology, telemedicine, education and training, home healthcare, pharmacy retailing and medical business process outsourcing.

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