GIP ESTHER, a French humanitarian organization involved in assisting health institutions has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) that cost about US$50,000 to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and the Redemption Hospital.
During a brief turnover ceremony yesterday at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, French Ambassador to Liberia, Joël GODEAU said that the gesture is in response to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s call for assistance from partners to combat the Ebola epidemic.
“The French government through the GIP ESTHER (Network for Therapeutic Solidarity in Hospitals) as a result decided to provide an emergency assistance to the Liberian people,” Ambassador GODEAU said.
He added that by extending its support to those working to restart essential health care services in the major hospitals of Monrovia, the GIP ESTHER brings its contribution to the rehabilitation of the Liberian Health system.
“As you know the GIP ESTHER is a public French agency under the authority of the Ministry of Health and dedicated to projects of cooperation between French and Liberian hospitals, within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Health of both countries,” he said.
He noted further that since 2010, GIP ESTHER has been involved in partnership projects targeting the improvement of the quality of services for HIV patient care and treatment.
With this record in assisting medical facilities, Ambassador GODEAU said GIP ESTHER in connection with the medical French institutions would like to bring its contribution to the reinforcement of the capacities for assuring the continuity of medical care, in the context of Ebola.
He commended the French agency for staying alongside the Liberian hospitals and also for the personal involvements of Professor Pierre TATTEVIN and project manager Nathalie CARTIER, who was recently in Monrovia, and Masietta TAYLOR, ESTHER coordinator in Liberia.
He paid tribute to all Liberian and International Health workers involved in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease and to the admirable work done by some French NGO’s.
“This laudable contribution reflects the solidarity shown by the French people and the French Government to the countries affected by Ebola,” he said.
He added, “Indeed France has strongly committed itself in the International mobilization against the epidemic, in particular, by providing a strong assistance to Guinea. It is what President HOLLANDE recalled when he paid a visit to Guinea, the 28th of November, the first visit of a non-African head of state in one of the three Ebola most hit countries.”
He said by intervening in the crisis in Guinea and Sierra Leone, France helps the Liberian people as well, since President Sirleaf said a few weeks ago, “Liberia will not be declared Ebola free until its neighbors are also Ebola free.”
He assured Liberians that the French people, in through humanitarian associations and official agencies like GIP ESTHER will remain alongside the Liberian people, against the Ebola virus which is not yet eradicated.
“Be confident, you will succeed if no effort is spared as long as the threat is always here,” he concluded.
Responding, the Chief Medical Officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Billy Johnson (MD) thanked Ambassador GODEAU for the generous donation in support of the anti-Ebola fight.
Dr. Johnson said they were grateful for the support which the French through the ESTHER program has been giving them since 2008, which included its assistance to the JFK HIV program.
He added that for this program, ESTHER has been supplying medications, nutritional supplies and follow-ups visits.
ESTHER has also a research program designed to ensure that patients were taking their medications, making follow-up visits and coming in for check-ups.
“This is very important for HIV patients because if they do not take their medications and come for check-ups, they may suffer a relapse and die,” Dr. Billy said.
The ESTHER program has also been helpful in supplying the JFK program with transportation and other logistics.