Liberia: Calm Returns to Tappita

Lower Nimba — -But Aggrieved Residents Want Full Scale Investigations Into Missing Items At Jackson F. Doe Hospital

Calm has returned to Tappita following interventions by Nimba County Superintendent David Dorr Cooper and Development Superintendent, Railey Myers along with local authorities of Tappita on Friday.

Tappita was a scene of violence on the morning of Thursday, August 1, 2019, when aggrieved residents stormed the premises of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional Referral Hospital to resist the removal of a Neuro-Surgical Microscope donated by the Kole-Bu Neuro Science Foundation in Ghana years back.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Jackson F. Doe Hospital, Dr. Saygbeh Vanyanbah at a town hall meeting with aggrieved residents in Tappita on Friday, the administration of the Hospital received a communication from the Minister of Health requesting the Neuro- surgical Microscope for surgeries at the JFK Hospital in Monrovia. He said a team of surgeons from Canada are in the country upon the invitation of the Liberia government to perform brain surgeries both at JFK and JFD hospitals.

But according to him, due to the bad road condition, the surgeries cannot be performed at the JFD; something he necessitated the removal of the Neuro- Surgical Microscope from the Hospital to Monrovia.

He mentioned that though the residents of the area were not informed but the communication was read to the city mayor and the statutory superintendent.

Dr. Vanyanbah narrated that on the morning of the violence [Thursday], he surprising saw a group of aggrieved youth under the banner, Concern Youth Movement demanding him to take them to the room hosting the Microscope to see them because according to them, an air plane had come to air lift the machine to Monrovia. The CEO maintained that it will cost the hospital US1000 to disinfest the room in which it is located because only special medical attires are allowed there.

He alleged the aggrieved residents besieged the facility thereby disrupting normal activities at the hospital.

He further alleged that they held in hostage the chief medical director of the hospital, Dr. Alvin Nah Doe and even beat on him. The aggrieved residents however denied the allegation.

Meanwhile speaking at the meeting the spokesperson of the aggrieved residents, Mr. Steve Demey said their action was not only predicated upon the removal of the Neuro-Surgical Microscope but series of unwholesome acts the new management of the Hospital has allegedly been involved in.

Mr. Demey alleged that the hospital management has unilaterally been involved in removing some essential materials belonging to the facility to other health facilities in the country.

The aggrieved residents through their spokesperson told the superintendent and other local authorities present to conduct full scale investigations into missing items from the hospital.

"Honorable superintendent and other local authorities of Tappita, we the concerned youths of this City do demand immediate investigations into missing items from the hospital for years now, before we are satisfied. These items have been removed from the JFD Hospital". He said.

For his part, the superintendent of Nimba, David Dorr Cooper called on the aggrieved citizens to refrain from violence and take ownership of the facility as the matter will be looked into with the proper authorities. He however blamed the actions of the residents on lack of respect for the county's administration and local authorities and people of Tappita who are sole custodians of the Hospital from the Health Minister. He then assured the people of Tappita that the Machine will not be removed from the hospital until a proper communication is sent by the health ministry to the county administration and the local authorities of Tappita.

"How can you take Neuro-Surgical Microscope from the hospital without the knowledge of stakeholders and even me who is chairman of the county health board"? Superintendent Cooper asked. The Nimba superintendent argued that the communication received by him from the Chief Executive Officer, did not specify what time the machine will be brought back to the hospital; something he said apparently caused the residents to go on the rampage.

The decision of the Ministry of Health to remove the Neuro-Surgical Microscope to be taken to JFK in Monrovia for surgeries has not gone down well with leaders and residents of Tappita, with the district six law maker Dorwohn Twain Gleekia alleging 'disrespect 'from the Minister of Health to his office and people of his district. "Let me be on record for this I stand by my people for their action toward the management of the JFD because they [Health Ministry] did not show us any respect". Representative Gleekia told a Truth FM Nimba.

"He vowed that the machine will not be taken from the facility until the people of Tappita and the Ministry of Health are on one term". The district number six law maker said.

The Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional and Referral Hospital is a gift from the government and people of China to the government and people of Liberia. The more than $30million dollars hospital was dedicated on February 12, 2011 by Former President Ellen Johnson and has since served more than 150,000 inhabitants across Liberia.

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