Liberia: GOL's Action At Jackson Fiah Doe Hospital Is Wrong

Attempt by the Government of Liberia to remove the only neurosurgical machine at the Jackson Fiah Doe Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County is not only wicked, but irresponsibly insensitive.

Last week, authorities from the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia flew on a helicopter to Tappita to take away the only neurosurgical equipment not just at Jackson Fiah Doe Referral Hospital, but the only such facility in the entire country.

The objective is to bring the machine to Monrovia for month-long neurosurgeries at the JFK Hospital by a team of surgeons from Canada.

But angry citizens in Tappita gave the JFK authorities a run for their money by resisting removal of the equipment from the hospital. The protesting crowd barricaded the premises and attempted burning down the helicopter. They also placed the neurosurgeon at the Jackson Fiah Doe Hospital, Doctor Alvin Nah Doe, under house arrest to prevent him from conniving with the authorities from Monrovia to smuggle the equipment out of there.

We totally detest what is glaringly a beginning of attempt by the government to scrap the Jackson Fiah Doe Referral Hospital. That hospital does not only cater to the people of Nimba County, but counties in southeast Liberia and nationals from neighboring countries.

If this were allowed, we would not be surprised if the JFK were to go back for equipment at Jackson Fiah Doe, and then another and another that could lead to the eventual closure of that essential facility.

Rather than extracting parts or tools from other hospitals and health centers across the country, the government should focus on fully equipping the JFK hospital, as the nation's premier health institution. Lives of people in Monrovia with neurological sicknesses shouldn't be taken more important than those in Nimba and other parts of Liberia.

The people of Tappita are right for resisting the removal of the neurosurgical equipment from the hospital because they too need it themselves. Besides, there is no guarantee that if brought to Monrovia, the JFK authorities would return it anytime soon, if ever they would.

Lest it is misconstrued, we do not in any way object to the coming of expert doctors from abroad to help our people, who have medical complications. But the authorities should do the right thing and stop embarrassing peaceful citizens.

Acquiring a brand new neurosurgical machine for the JFK is not, and shouldn't appear impossible for a government that claims it is truly committed to prioritizing the health of its citizens. The authorities should re-arrange their priorities for the country.

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