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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Liberia: Government Must Reinvigorate Liberia’s Health Sector To Provide for Optimum Medical Care for All Liberians and stop Unnecessary Deaths

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By: Ezekiel B. Freeman

International Consultant

Liberia Reengineer for Sustainable Development (LRSD)

Over the years, governments in Liberia failed to put in place or implement strategic plans to revitalize the health system/sector of Liberia so that it provides a healthy Liberian population, reduces instances of unnecessary deaths, provides more cures, and saves lives.

At this time in Liberia, the new Minister of Health and Social Welfare must be tasked with fostering the achievement of the highest standard of medical health care and well-being for all Liberians and other residents in Liberia.

If it is “The Dawn of a New Era” for Liberia, and if the Liberian People’s interest is now FRONT and CENTER as it is being claimed. If truly it is “Rescue Liberia” the health system must work for Liberians.

Over the years, the Liberian government failed to implement effective strategies to revamp the country’s healthcare system. As a result, the health sector has not been able to provide adequate medical care to the population, leading to unnecessary deaths and a lack of successful treatments.

The new Minister of Health in Liberia must prioritize the provision of the highest standard of medical care and well-being for all Liberians and residents of Liberia.  There should be no compromise. A very effective and operationalized health care in Liberia will prevent disease, cure illness, and improve quality of life.

If the government truly aims to create a “new era” for Liberia with the people’s interests at the forefront, then the health system must be revamped to cater to the health needs of all Liberians and other nationalities that reside in Liberia.

This should involve the implementation of measures to ensure that quality healthcare is accessible to all Liberians. It is time for the Liberian government to take decisive action so we can have a healthy nation and people.

The Liberian people are tired of being ignored and neglected by their leaders. They demand a healthcare system that works for them, and the government must take every action possible to ensure that excellent healthcare is made available to all.

The new government must ensure through every means available the systemization of “excellent healthcare for all” in Liberia. It shouldn’t be “business as usual” for Liberia anymore.

The Liberian people are sick and tired of governments not serving their interests and expectations. The Liberia people are sick and tired of faux excuses.

It is now incumbent upon the UP government to change the trajectory by prioritizing the reengineering of Liberia’s health sector to start to keep the Liberian society healthy.

The Government must start to invest and attract investments, funding, and support that will effectively and efficiently operationalize all medical facilities in Liberia and improve health delivery in Liberia to internationally acceptable standards.

One of this government’s strategic medical and healthcare plans should be to work with developmental partners to aid Liberia’s health sector.

This government must seek diplomatic collaborations and goodwill that provide for training of Liberia’s medical personnel and technicians in various medical specialties, upgrading the medical facility at JFK and other referral hospitals, obtaining, and utilizing modern medical equipment, medicine, and technologies, and providing incentives for medical personnel that will boost the health service deliveries in Liberia.

There is goodwill out there especially in the international community and foreign governments when it comes to the health and wellbeing of a deprived population as Liberia’s. We must tap into the benevolence of the foreign governments and use the assistance and support for the benefit of Liberia.

Through government diplomatic relationships you can negotiate for medical doctors and other healthcare specialties on a routine basis to come to Liberia and help with Liberia’s healthcare services.

You can work with the Chinese embassy on the possibility of the Chinese government providing medicines and medical equipment. China produces almost 80% of medicines in the world, and the US and other countries rely on the medical supply chain from China.

Use your intelligence, common sense, and comparative advantage and work for the health and well-being of Liberians. “Health is wealth” and it is the most significant wealth any Liberian can have.

The US is now one of the major manufacturers of ventilators and other advanced medical equipment and apparatus. Use your diplomatic prowess through programs and projects to attract such benevolence and donations that will improve health care delivery in Liberia.

We must use our common sense to work for Liberia. Excellent health services are all Liberian’s rights, and a MUST for all Liberians regardless of status in society, political or religious persuasions.

Educational opportunities and means for scholarship must be created so that Liberians who work in the medical and health field and those who seek careers in various medical fields can go abroad, specialize, and attain practical experiences in medicine, multiple surgery, medical health, administration, etc.

They will then return and perform stewardship effectively and efficiently in the delivery of health services in Liberia.

Substantially also and for the first time in the history of Liberia this “Rescue Government” must develop a strategic plan to SUBSIDIZE all critical medical emergencies in Liberia so that hospitals and clinics will not reject or turn away critical medical emergency patients who are indigent and at that time do not have money to pay for admission or medical treatment.

Countless lives are lost, and our human resources are depleted because hospitals and clinics prioritize money before any treatment.

Medical personnel would rather the indigent critically ill person lay outside of the hospitals or clinics and die than take him or her in to provide treatment and go about asking for admission fees. It continues to be reported that most patients who were turned away from various hospitals and clinics end up dying.

At the most critical time when they need immediate medical attention, the hospital or clinics reject or turn them away instead of providing immediate medical intervention to stabilize the critical health conditions and thereafter make referrals to referral hospitals.

The Ministry of Health through various interventions must seek and work towards proper effectiveness of its Medical Emergency System (EMS) in Liberia.

Lives are needlessly lost because of the lack of EMS specialties, and equipment including ambulances, medicines, and other modern technologies and apparatus. Liberia lacks the capacity for a viable and operationalized medical emergency system.

We need not to be rocket scientists to see the ineffectiveness. Every day Liberians rich or poor, in power or out of power suffer the loss of their loved ones from the ineffectiveness and inadequacy of Liberia’s EMS and healthcare.

It is governmental irresponsibility and neglect of fiduciary responsibility that this significant component of health and medical services has not been effective.

The various hospitals and clinics spread across Liberia have not had fully operationalized, effective, and functioning Emergency Medical Systems (EMS). Even though clinics hospitals and other medical centers can’t prepare and deal with every medical emergency, at least we must meet internationally acceptable standards, and work towards efficiency.

Catering to EMS starts with the care of patients with a well-equipped ambulance and professional crew available. Liberia lacks the availability and use of ambulances as a result lives are lost due to the delay in attending to medical emergencies.

In conversation with ordinary Liberians, it was noted that it would take forever to get an EMS ambulance service to a critically ill patient in Liberia. Hardly would the calls go through and hardly are ambulances available one citizen voiced.

Another impediment to Liberians accessing EMS vehicles in the communities is that houses are built congested and tight to each other with no abutting, alley, or driveway. Regulations were not adhered to or enforced by the requisite authority. Liberians do not utilize common sense when building to plan for emergency evacuation.

We must always plan for emergencies when we build houses and other accommodations by providing for alley, driveway, frontage, or allowance on any side as per the city regulation.

If there aren’t any the requisite governmental authorities must ensure means of emergency evacuation are constructed. New Liberia calls for the application of common sense.

Does the 911 service number even work? Is there an ambulance in every district in Liberia? Do all the clinics, medical hospitals, police, fire services, or medical centers have effective and operationalized EMS?

Has there been any medical health, well-being, and safety bill sponsored and passed by the national legislature that will institute the designation of at least one fully equipped, fully staffed, and operationalized ambulance and fire service truck in every political district in Liberia?

Are not all the legislators’ servants of the people and therefore must always seek the health, care, safety, and well-being of their constituencies?

During the new Health Minister’s confirmation, did any of the senators ask for the Health Minister’s strategic plan to revitalize the poor health system in Liberia? What about her strategic plans to operationalize and make the EMS effective in saving lives in Liberia?

What about her plans to seek and attract scholarships, funding for the education, experience, and training of medical personnel in various specialties, and attracting those with brilliant young minds who are interested in various careers in the health field? Did anyone ask her about the time frame of her deliverables?

What are the oversight committees on health and social welfare plans to hold the health minister and others accountable for their deliverables? What is the review and oversight mechanics to ensure the effectiveness of government working for the people? Common sense tells us that the Liberian health sector is disastrous, and we all are affected, rich or poor.

Another issue is the complaints from some patients and their loved ones about medical personnel, nurses, and others disregarding the Hippocratic and the Florence Nightingale oaths they took.

How can the Minister of Health ensure patients are treated as per the Hippocratic and the Florence Nightingale oaths and medical personnel and nurses work towards both expectations?

Improving the health sector in Liberia should be everyone’s responsibility. Liberian people deserve better.

The past governments inadequately failed to attract investments that boost training capacities, professionalism, and specialty for physicians, nurses, and specialists.

As a result of the lack thereof, Liberia’s healthcare system operates below par. Governments inadequately failed to get investments for hospitals, clinics, and other medical centers to acquire the required advanced medical technological equipment and train personnel to operate.

Governments have been complacent and irresponsible and have not made healthcare delivery a priority for all Liberians. It is time that it be priority number ONE.

This new government must right the wrongs and work effectively for the good and well-being of all Liberians.

If this new government must work and change course, we all must work to take Liberia from the dungeon of underdevelopment to sustainable development. We must all be held accountable citizenries as well as members, and officials of government including the executive, national legislature, and the judiciary.

We must work for the people’s well-being and always serve their interests. We must always work to improve their health, well-being, and welfare and keep them alive.

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