An eminent and specialized Liberian medical doctor and surgeon has described the Liberian healthcare delivery system as an “18th century health system” with Liberians only surviving through goodwill gesture of foreign partners.
Dr. Vuyu Golakai, who is also the Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine at the University of Liberia, stressed in a power point presentation during Liberia’s observation of the 21st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, for people to feel the impact of good a healthcare system, government needs to generate a condition that will bring to realization such impact.
He noted that availability of healthcare, accessibility, acceptability and quality make the impact of healthcare felt.
The fearless and outspoken Liberian medical doctor emphasized that the health system of Liberia has remained vulnerable as a result of failure and unfairness on the part of government to invest therein.
Additionally, Dr. Golakai said taxpayers’ money has been used to sponsor more doctors in foreign countries to return and provide services to the government for a few years, but those very Liberians after completing their studies fail to fulfill their vows.
He recalled that more than 100 Liberian doctors have been trained in foreign countries, but only 25 are in the country while the rest are abroad.
Were those doctors fair enough to return home, Liberia would be one of the best in Africa; but after being sponsored by taxpayers’ money, they have changed their nationality.
He further emphasized that healthcare as a right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not accessible and available to the ordinary Liberian people because the entire system is broken down.
“Do you know why Ebola continues to be present in Monrovia? It is because Monrovia is very dirty with garbage and human waste spread all over. You do not expect the “City” to be free of disease when dirt is all over,” Dr. Golakai stressed.
He also indicated that transparency is completely absent in the health sector, with health workers engaged in taking bribes from patients before attending to them.
He again blamed it on government and the system that has been created, noting that because people are not punished for their wrong doing, they take advantage of it to continuously exhibit unethical behavior.
“We health workers have not failed you, but your government has failed you. If I do wrong and I’m made to bear punishment for my wrong doing, I will not repeat it. But your government does not have such as system in place, so they have failed you and not we,” he added.
Regarding the Ebola outbreak, Dr. Golakai squarely blamed World Health Organization’s Director, Margaret Chan for showing insensitivity to the disaster at the early stage.
“This woman knew that Ebola is a deadly disease that broke out in neighboring Guinea, but she kept quiet for some months until it began spreading in Liberia and Sierra Leone before she could call for emergency. It is not that they like us, but there was an agenda, and the agenda has manifested itself. The call is meant to bring in money to the World Health Organization through Liberia and other affected countries,” Dr. Golakai noted.
He attributed the decline of Ebola in Liberia to interventions by the United States and other partners but again stressed that U.S. especially was playing its role amidst shame and interest.
“They colonized us and have been doing little to impact their former colony. Moreover, they are interested in our oil, and so they have to play the role they play now,” he said amidst huge applause.
Meanwhile, Dr. Golakai stressed that because of the Liberian government’s insensitivity to the health sector, the 20% budgetary allotment pronounced to be sent there has not come. He further noted, “Because the system is vulnerable, your leaders use taxpayers’ money to travel abroad for medication while your clinics and hospitals are without essential drugs and other supplies.”
Dr. Golakai also lashed out at President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for appointing people in government on the basis of friendship which, according to him, has caused under performance in her administration and yielding nothing for the Liberian people.
Dr. Golakai who declared that he has never voted in Liberia and will not vote because Liberian politicians are not trustworthy, urged the audience to talk to the President to listen to pieces of expert advice from people and stop running the government on the basis of friendship.