John Snow, Inc (JSI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, March 21, dedicated a refurbished and well equipped state-of-the-art medical laboratory at the Tellewoyan Memorial Hospital in Voinjama City, Lofa County.
The funding for the renovation and procurement of the equipment was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Advancing Partners for Communities (APC)/JSI and by the Government of Japan through the WHO.
JSI is a US-based non-governmental organization working with host governments to strengthen health systems and improve access to quality health services globally. The organization has been helping to strengthen the health system and health services in Liberia since 2006 and is currently executing the Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services program for Ebola survivors (ETP and SS) in Liberia.
WHO renovated and equipped the Micro Biology side of the laboratory.
This state-of –the –art medical laboratory is equipped to do blood chemistry, liver and kidney function tests Parasitology, Blood Culture and maintains a blood bank.
The project, according to Dr. Rose Jallah Macauley, JSI Country Representative and Chief of Party of the JSI/APC ETP and SS program, seeks to ensure that Ebola survivors have access to quality health care including access to specialists as needed.
Dr. Macauley disclosed that the project also seeks to utilize resources to help strengthen the health system, so that when the project will have ended, the system will continue to provide services for Ebola survivors and Liberians at large.
She explained that the project is enhancing the implementation of the health related components of the Government of Liberia’s Ebola Survivors Care and Support Policy.
“The Government of Liberia and partners in 2016 developed an Ebola Survivors Care and Policy to guide support provided to EVD survivors, outlining six pillars, including clinical care, mental health and psycho social services, stigma reduction, legal services, education services and livelihood,” Dr. Macauley said.
According to her, the USAID support covers the three of the six pillars. Additionally, the USAID-funded APC/JSI ETP and SS Programs supports the EVD Secretariat, which coordinate support to the EVD community and the leadership of the EVD Survivor Network of Liberia.
As of JSI connection to the laboratory project, Dr. Macauley said that Tellewoyan Hospital’s administration requested help for the expansion of its lab and assorted equipment during an assessment of the program target health facilities.
Other targeted facilities include Redemption Hospital, JFK Medical Center, Duport Road Health Center in Monsterrado County, C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, and Dolo’s Town Health Center near Unification Town, Margibi County, Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Kolahun and Foyah Hospitals in Lofa County.
Macauley said support to target health facilities vary depending on the needs identified by the facility management and the county health team. These supports include renovations of facilities, establishment of water system in the health facilities and procurement of medical and laboratory equipment.
She disclosed that a team is expected to install the equipment and train laboratory technicians at the hospital next month and she encouraged clinicians at the facility to take advantage of the training.
Dr. Macauley then pleaded with the hospital’s Board of Directors to help scout funding for the sustenance of the equipment and the services at the laboratory by making sure the hospital has constant power supply and continuous availability of reagents.
Tellewoyan Hospital Medical Director, Dr. James K. Korvieh, lauded JSI and WHO for the lab, which according to him, will be used to provide the best possible care for patients.
Korvieh said prior to the dedication of the lab, clinicians have had to depend on their skills to diagnose and treat patients in the absence of medical laboratory or refer the patients to Phebe or JFK hospitals.
He said with the new laboratory, the hospital will now be in the position to effectively diagnose and treat patients for diagnostic procedures without making referral.
Lousina F. Farwenel, Tellewoyan Hospital Administrator lauded Lofa County Diagnostic Officer, A. Mark Sesay, for advocating for a modern laboratory for the hospital. He explained that the need for a modern lab was advocated for by Sesay.
The Lofa County Health Team represented by the Community Health Director, Edmund Esiah, thanked JSI and WHO for the support they continue to provide to the county health system.
Mr. Esiah said that the county health team will work with the Board of Directors of the hospital to ensure that Laboratory remains functional.
Joseph Kabbeh, Co-chair of Tellewoyan Hospital Board of Directors, who is also the former Lofa County Representative, lauded JSI and WHO for the lab and assured that the Board will provide the necessary support to the hospital to ensure the equipment remains functional by helping to mobilize funds for the hospital.
The 125- bed Tellewoyan Hospital is named in honored of the late Paramount Chief, Akoi Tellewoyan (1840-1966). It is a regional referral hospital.