President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has toured public and private health facilities across Monrovia “to strengthen” health workers, as some doctors are now escaping duties due to the deadly Ebola crisis.
Pres. Sirleaf at Ahmadiyya Clinic
Casualties from the Ebola virus in Liberia mount daily, and patients are being turned away in some overwhelmed health centers.
The French charity, Medicine Sans Frontieres, which operates a 300 bed treatment center at the ELWA Hospital, says its capacity has been overwhelmed.
It took President Sirleaf’s intervention here on Tuesday, 9 September to have a teenager who had reportedly drunk chloride admitted at the SOS Children Village in Congo Town after being rushed there.
During the President’s tour of various health facilities, the head of the Benson Hospital in Paynesville, Doctor Jimmie Benson, said three Congolese doctors that were helping him and his wife have fled Liberia for fear of contracting the virus.
One deteriorating situation that was brought to President Sirleaf’s attention, who chairs the National Ebola Taskforce here is that the Benson Hospital that receives about 40 to 45 patients daily, is now almost out of Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs. Hospital authorities said PPEs available have to be washed about two or three times.
Dr. Benson said he personally purchased them for the hospital, suggesting that they have not had additional PPEs coming in from the government. Dr. Benson told the President that they have been transferred Ebola cases to the ELWA Hospital that hosts two major treatment centers here. He disclosed that a total of three Ebola patients had been transferred to ELWA from Monday to Tuesday.
But at other health centers like the James N. Davis, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Neezoe community, Paynesville, authorities complained that 50 to 60 percent of their staff are with Medicine Sans Frontieres, the National Ebola Response team and Ebola Treatment Unit and “are getting huge compensation.”
“We’re going around; we try to strengthen all the health facilities- whether it’s government, whether it’s private- because we know that right now many of the hospitals are involved in the Ebola treatment. But we want to encourage the other ones to respond to just normal health care, that’s what SDA Cooper is doing,” said President Sirleaf.
As she made stops at various health centers, including the Ahmadiyya Clinic, Seventh Day Adventist Cooper Hospital, SOS Children Village, Benson Hospital and the James N. Davis, Jr., the President received the files of listed items needed to enhance their operations.
“We got to find a way to strengthen you so you can continue to serve the people,” said President Sirleaf, as she emphasized the need for health workers’ protection both at public and private health centers.
There is also challenge of lack of sufficient fuel to run 24 hour services, as the James N. Davis, Jr. Administrator James Kaikai estimates that fuel required for four vehicles and the hospital’s generator costs about 3,060 gallons per month, describing it as a serious challenge.