Liberia: Israeli Medical Delegation Concludes Week-Long Visit

The Israeli medical team (from left): Dr. Ronella Marom, Prof. Ariel Many and Dr. Ronit Almog at Redemption Hospital with Dr. Paul Whesseh, Medical Director of the hospital (Photo: Ziv Koren)

A four-person medical delegation from "Bringing Lives Into the World", an organization of the Ichilov Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, has concluded a week-long training and assessment tour of four government health facilities in Liberia.

The head of the delegation, Dr. Ronit Almog, told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on Friday, March 22 in Monrovia, that their visit was in response to the recent official visit by President George M. Weah and Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, to Israel earlier this month. The delegation's visit was also facilitated by the Liberia International Shipping and Corporate Registry (LISCR) Trust.

The during their assessment in Liberia, the team toured four health facilities namely; John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) and the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, as well as the Phebe Hospital and the C. B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Dr. Almog said the main objective of her team's visit was to conduct a needs assessment that will inform future medical missions to Liberia. She said the expectation of her team is to also see the implementation of a program in Liberia that will reduce the maternal morbidity and mortality, the newborn mortality.

"Israel is one of the countries with the lowest infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the world and therefore, we feel obliged to share our knowledge and experience," she said.

The delegation also gave lectures and practical instructions and hands-on trainings to professional nurses and doctors and worked with them to develop continuous care for the pregnant mothers, during delivery of the newborn and infant care. Specific training included pregnancy follow-up, identifying high risk women, triage, obstetrical complications and management, fetal monitoring, instrumental deliveries, neonatal assessment and resuscitation, treatment of the newborn during the early neonatal period etc.

"We also conducted a plan to treat the newborn and do follow up during the first few months of life. We brought basic equipment that assists in achieving our goals," she stated.

In addition to making clinical rounds with the Liberian doctors at the various hospitals and interacting with patients, the medical team provided few medical supplies including latex gloves and face masks, as well as medical devices such as defibrillators, fetal monitors, doppler, blood pressure and saturation monitors, as well as a device for vacuum delivery, which is useful in situations where there is lack of electricity.

"For us," Dr. Almog stressed, "the most important thing we brought to share is our knowledge and experience, especially on how to use the equipment."

The team of medical doctors included Dr. Ronit Almog, Director of "Bringing lives into the world" and a specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology for about 20 years; Prof Ariel Many, is a specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology for about 25 years; Dr. Ronella Marom, a Pediatric specialist and subspecialist in Neonatology for 20 years; and Ziv Koren an internationally known documentary photographer whose work has been published in leading magazines, such as Time magazine, and several books and exhibitions.

Though a relatively new organization, Bringing Lives Into the World has done medical missions in Burma, Myanmar and Ethiopia. In late January, the organization donated 60 beds to the JFK Hospital.

The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) in Israel is also the largest acute care facility in Israel that, treats about 400,000 patients and hosts 1.8 million patient visits per year. It has a 1500-bed world-class governmental academic medical center and serves a population of one million people, including residents from the greater Tel Aviv area and visitors to the metropolis.

The visiting medical delegation said they were very impressed with the doctors they met at the various hospitals, including Dr. Kou Geah of the C.B. Dunbar Hospital, where they spent two and a half days; and Dr. Paul Whesseh, Medical Director of Redemption Hospital. Some of the doctors they met, Dr. Almog said, "have a high degree of commitment to the communities they serve." Generally, especially from the team's interactions with patients, she noted that there are people with a passion for positive change, in spite of the less fortunate conditions in which they find themselves.

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