-appeals for electricity, ambulance, increased allotment
The newly appointed Medical Director for Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center in Nimba County has vowed to transform the facility from a health center to a hospital.
Dr. Emmanuel Lah succeeds Dr. Sei M. Parwon, who was retired by the government unnoticed. Doctor Parwon took up assignment at the facility as Medical Director in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic in the country.
Meanwhile, Doctor Emmanuel Lah, a 2018 graduate of the A.M Dogliotti College of Medicines of the University of Liberia is now Medical Director along with Doctor Matthew Kolleh, as Medical Officer, respectively for the Center.
Speaking at his official takeover ceremony in Saclepea on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, Doctor Lah said the facility has all requirements to operate as a hospital, including a modernized X-ray machine and qualified technicians.
He further said the Comprehensive Health Center has two surgical theaters, one of which is well equipped and fully functional.
“We are centrally located, serving a vast population. Currently, with the influx of refuge seekers from neighboring Ivory Coast, it is obvious that the burden of care will be upon this facility to serve them equally. I see no reason why a facility serving over 50,000 citizens and providing all necessary health services will be categorized as a health center”, he noted.
Within a 30 day plan, Dr. Lah revealed that his team will resume regular emergency and elective surgeries, and out and inpatients’ services. He also revealed plan to acquire a functional ambulance and repair the facility’s utility pickup and bikes that are currently dysfunctional, including provision of essential surgical materials, Anesthetics drugs and non-medical supplies and logistics for cleaning, and records keeping.
However, he said these action plans would only be achieved when enormous challenges facing the Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center are solved by national government and partners. “We will only achieve these good plans when government and other people solve those challenges here”. Dr. Lah added.
He named some challenges facing the facility such as lack of logistics for hospital staff, lack of functional vehicle or ambulance for emergency referral and essential materials, including high cost for electricity.
He lamented the nomenclature of the facility “Health Center” is badly affecting its effective operation because of very low budgetary allotment, disclosing budgetary allotments to the facility have over the years declined from US$250,000 to US$150,000, and presently down to US$50,000.
He said because of these challenges sometimes medical practitioners watched their patients died of treatable diseases after running out of options that are available, but not accessible.
Dr. Lah appeals to those responsible for electricity in the county to please connect the hospital on a monthly flat rate basis because he said, huge portion of funds go into keeping power in the facility. He also pleads with partners, especially NGOs, well-meaning and prominent citizens for an extra theater bed to help equip the other theater, including additional mattresses for the OB ward.
He calls on the Nimba Legislative Caucus, the Ministry of Health, the Nimba County Health Team and NGOs, and citizens of Saclepea to come to the aid of the facility in any means possible in helping to achieve their goals.
At the same time, Nimba County Health Officer Dr. Nettie Joe has urged citizens of Saclepea to cooperate with the newly assigned medical officers, if they are to receive quality health care service at the facility, noting that if citizens open up to the doctors, they stand a better chance of benefiting quality health care delivery.
Doctor Joe also called on workers of the facility to avoid gossip among one another that could portray the Center negatively to the public, and applauds outgoing Doctor Sei M. Parwon for his dedicated services to the people of Nimba County and Liberia at large, as she wishes him well in his retirement.
By Roger Akin Than, Nimba County–Editing by Jonathan Browne