Say hospital symbolizes hidden jewel
The Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital (JFDMH) in Tapitta, Lower Nimba County, is a “hidden Jewel” which, when discovered, will improve the country’s health sector, says Amos G. Sankaila, a resident of Tapitta.
Sankaila made the statement during Liberia Media Development Initiative’s dialogue on budget monitoring for accountability, with funding from USAID (United States Aid for International Development) and Internews. It was held under the theme, “Engaging Citizens on National Budget for Accountability Development.”
The forum, held on Friday, May 18, was the second of 4th in a series the entity has hosted on the budget monitoring project and how its allocation affects the lives of citizens.
According to Sankaila, the hospital needs speedy government attention, to deliver better healthcare to the influx of patients, especially for those who will not have the require money to seek medical attention abroad.
The challenges, he said, are enormous, owing to the deplorable conditions of the road connecting Tapitta with surrounding communities.
“The situation of bad roads is hampering the smooth running of the hospital, because whenever a patient is diagnosed but cannot be treated because of lack of medicine, he has to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance or any other vehicle, even though the hospital’s staff are effective and ready for the mission.”
Sankaila said the hospital’s administration is responding to the health needs of ordinary Liberians, but the issue of road rehabilitation needs to be addressed, to make the area accessible.
One other issue Mr. Sankaila raised is patients’ inability to pay hospital bill, when the nurses have already treated them. “So as a result, some of them will pay their bill by bringing live cattle or the administration would waive the money, a situation that is crippling the hospital economically.”
Ms. Chris Joe, a representative candidate who lost the 2017 elections and resident of Tapitta, said JFDMH is well-equipped to diagnose patients of their ailments, but the doctors are unable to solve the problems because of drug shortages.
Ms. Joe said the issue of electricity is another major concern that needs to be addressed, because it has stopped doctors from attending to patients on many occasions.
Other residents corroborated the urgent health needs of the citizens, which they said if the government can attend to the shortage of medicine and other issues affecting the JFDMH, it would fully cater to the needs of the influx of patients.
James Sabboh, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the hospital has well over 15 qualified doctors, including eight specialists, but the issue of drugs has remained a major challenge.
“We practice evidence-based medicine, not just the guessing type of using hands and brains to determine the fate of patients,” Sobboh said.
He repeated residents’ call on the government to pave the Ganta/Tapitta road as well as increase the hospital’s budgetary allotment.
Maureen Sieh, representative from Internews, said the project aims to engage citizens through the media, to talk about how much the government allotted in the budget and how it affects the lives of the citizens.
Sieh said the JFDMH is the country’s major referral hospital. As such, it is important to engage the government to prioritize health, education, roads and the agriculture sectors.