The Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA) has set February 15 as the date of their fundraising dinner and installation into office of its new corps of officers elected on December 8, 2018.
LMDA is a professional body for all doctors and dentists in Liberia. The association said its program, which is expected to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday (February 15), is intended to raise funds in order to accomplish its medical outreach mission to several counties.
The President-elect of LMDA Mr. Emmanuel K. Ekanaba said his organization, being a professional medical agency, is interested in ensuring that people in the hinterland, who do not have access to surgeons (operation doctors), ophthalmologists (eye physicians), cardiologists (heart sicknesses physicians), among others, have access to treatment through these medical specialists, without having to worry about any payment.
"LMDA is a professional arm of the Liberia Medical Council which is the regulatory body. We are also involved in research and medical outreach," Dr. Ekanaba told the Daily Observer in an interview at his office in the compound of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia.
He emphasized that the medical outreach has become a component of the LMDA because the association has done a research and found out that the doctor to patient ratio in the country is terribly worrisome and, as such, too many patients with critical cases around the country lack access to doctors, most especially due to lack of money to pay the bills that appear very high to them.
"We know we have limited doctors in the country, but even the few that are in the country are concentrated in Monrovia and a few of the other county capitals; thereby leading many patients of hernia, eye problems, among other sicknesses, to die almost on a daily basis," he said.
In a further explanation of why the February 15 fundraiser dinner is significant, Dr. Ekanaba said those who will show up to the occasion should not think that the cost of tickets for entry is too high.
"We may have volunteer doctors to go out there on the outreach mission, but we will certainly need vehicles, fuel, medical supplies and other important things that cost so much. The doctors have to eat. That is why we should all rally around the LMDA to get implemented this great initiative," he said.
He said the fundraising event is not all about the installation of the new corps of officers but bringing like-minded people together who will sacrifice their little financial resources to help save the lives of dying patients in the remotest parts of the southeast, including Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, River Gee, River Cess, Sinoe counties and other parts of the country.
"Many people in this country lack specialist health care. This is why we are running a free clinic, conducting surgeries, procedure, and we are also involved in the capacity building of future doctors and physicians," he said. He noted that the capacity building process is carried out mainly at the medical school where lecturers from the LMDA, all of whom are professional medical doctors and health practitioners, volunteer their time.
About the cost of tickets to attend the dinner, he said there are categories. "We have written letters for corporate sponsorship and it is our hope that we get the needed support; but for the sake of ensuring that we raise money for the outreach, we have tickets for medical students and interns at the cost of US$25, and for others who are single non-medical people the cost is US$45 while a couple will pay US$ 75."
He added that those written and referred to as patrons of the occasion are expected to pay US$100.
Dr. Ekanaba has Dr. Yuah Nemah and Dr. Odell Kumeh as secretary and treasurer respectively, as members of his team of leadership expected to take over from Dr. Lewis M. Kpoto, Dr. Jonathan Hart and Dr. Yassah Barclay as the outgoing president, secretary, and treasurer.
With his professional standing in medicine, Ekanaba said he is an internal medicine specialist who works at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
"Our leadership takes very keen interest in the outreach program and, as such, we will do all in our power to encourage our partners to support the initiative so we may be able to help hundreds of our fellow countrymen, women, and children survive those curable diseases from which they are dying in the villages," he promised.
LMDA's secretary-elect Dr. Yuah Nemah said the fundraising dinner will also be an occasion where supporters and contributors of the medical system in the country will be recognized and honored before the audience that will be in attendance.
"Our elders in the medical field will get our appreciation for their immense contribution through work and pieces of advice over the years," Nemah said.
The new leadership is expected to serve a two-year term in office. This means in 2021 new elections are expected to be held, to bring about a new leadership which will steer the affairs of the LMDA.