-To reduce foreign medical travels
The Liberian Government headed by President George Manneh Weah has promised to build a new equipped VIP annex at the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tapita, Nimba County to upgrade the services and care of the hospital to topnotch levels to provide medical services to Government officials and other dignitaries to reduce the frequencies of foreign medical travels.
President Weah made the disclosure when he toured the hospital during his ongoing County Tour.
The Hospital is the country's second largest referral medical facility, next to the John F. Kennedy Hospital. The 206-bedroom hospital was constructed based on a US$10 million contract signed between the Governments of China and Liberia.
Despite its strategic location and other high-tech facilities, the Hospital has been woefully under-utilized more so due to bad road condition and other constraints.
The Weah Government is now stepping in, and very soon, to maximize the potential of this gigantic medical complex.
One of the main problems the new effort will mitigate is the tendency of Liberians, mainly government officials and others considered elite, seeking specialized medical care and treatment abroad.
During the President's visit to the Hospital as part of his nationwide tour, he inspected facilities there, and also engaged authority of the Hospital on the need to set a special section that will focus on VIP treatment and bring to an end Liberians seeking treatment out of the country.
The President who spent two nights of his visit in Tappita City on the compound of the Hospital, said the infrastructure and the environment are fantastic and conductive, capable of hosting any VIP.
"This is a fine facility, and the environment looks good," the President said, toying with the idea with the management of the Hospital. "All we need to do now is to take another step forward: create a special department that will exclusively focus on and handle special cases and particularly for individuals like government officials and other VIPs who may think that both the environment and the care they need when they are sick are not available anywhere else in the country, which is why they spend so much travelling abroad for treatment."
He added: "I believe we have the experts and experienced men and women and some measure of tools and equipment in Liberia to treat any disease or sickness. What is seemingly lacking is, one, the appropriate environment because most of our medical facilities like the JFK are overwhelmed and the environments are just not conductive for the psyche of some sick people, mainly VIPs. And two, the special attention, focus and speed needed for sick people."
In our present situation, and again because of the fact of that most medical facilities are overwhelmed and overstretched, the President noted, the special attention, focus and speed is scarce. This is why most VIPs think the option is to attend to their medical situations abroad.
The President asked the Jackson F. Doe Regional Medical Hospital management to begin working with other stakeholders in and out of Government to speed up discussions and arrangements on what will be needed to achieve the objectives of bringing to an end or reducing the tendency of Liberians going abroad to seek medical treatment.
Weah said this is important because it is a shame that Liberia, which is Africa's oldest republic, continues to witness a situation where its citizens, particularly government officials, run to other countries for treatment and medical care when that could, and should be done.
The Chief Executive recalled that the Johnson F. Kennedy Medical Hospital was the melting point and biggest referral medical center in Africa.