14 March 2011

Liberia: Medical Doctors And Volunteers Lauded

President Ellen Johnson Saturday lauded the work of the non-profit medical organization, Health Education and Relief Through Teaching, or HEARTT, for contributing greatly to the healthcare delivery system of Liberia.

The President commended individuals and institutions that have contributed to revamping and improving the country's health sector as witnessed over the years. "We owe you so much," the President said, describing the contributions as part of "a transformation of a society and of service to our people."

An Executive Mansion release states that the Liberian leader was speaking Saturday, at the Monrovia City Hall, at a Gala and Benefit Dinner organized to raise funds to support the work of HEARTT. The President made particular mention of individuals who have rendered voluntary services and contributed personal resources for the improvement of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.

"By joining us and supporting the cause of volunteerism, what you have done is to be a part of the reaching out, so that tomorrow the little child who was out there, lying on the ground of the hospital, will never have to go through that anymore because their life will have been spared," the President reminded supporters and sponsors.

The Liberian leader also thanked officials and staff of the Ministry of Health, local doctors and staff for the sacrifices they have made for the upkeep of JFK Hospital, and promised that Government will continue to support all efforts aimed at transforming the nation's healthcare delivery system to ensure that the future will be one of promise and hope and transformation, and so that mothers will not have to die during childbirth.

The Chairman and President of HEARTT, Dr. James A. Sirleaf, thanked the President for the support she continues to provide the team. He also praised volunteer doctors for the sacrifices they are making to respond to the health needs of Liberia. Dr. Sirleaf, one of four sons of the Liberian leader, said that to date, more than 100 physicians have come to Liberia to volunteer, providing services in pediatrics and emergency medicine. HEARTT, he said, is looking forward to expanding. "It is not just about HEARTT; it is the Liberian population, the people we continue to serve, - who have been kind to our volunteers as Liberians always are," Dr. Sirleaf said.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn, described the work of HEARTT in Liberia as an enormous contribution in reducing morbidity and mortality "because most of the consultations have been for specialized cases." She disclosed that since 2007, up to the present, HEARTT has undertaken more than 69,000 consultations through the Emergency Room.

HEARTT is a non-profit foundation established to assist communities with the development of fully functioning and sustainable healthcare systems by providing healthcare relief and educational services. Using the country's leading referral hospital, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, as its current project, HEARTT recruits and arranges for volunteer physicians and nurses to travel to Liberia to provide clinical care and teach local healthcare workers at JFK. The organization has established programs in emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and pediatrics at JFK, and provides over 60 physicians per year to Liberia for year-round clinical care and teaching support.

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