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Ellen warns JFK nurses

President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has warned nurses at the government John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center referral hospital that the health of the people is in their hands, and if they do not respond to patients that turn out to seek medical attention, they have put lives at stake.

“I wish some of the nurses from JFK were here, not just the eye clinic; but the other nurses to say to them the health of our people are not only in the hands of these who are trained, not only the doctors. It’s in your hands. When somebody comes to the hospital and you do not respond to them, you have put a life at stake”, Mrs. Sirleaf warned Monday, 24 July.

While inaugurating a major Indian – built Liberian Eye Care Center on Monday in Monrovia which places Liberia at first among West African countries to conduct cornea transplant, Mrs. Sirleaf says dream comes true if you work at it.

She recalls that it has been a long road to where “we are today”, and expresses surprise at the facility particularly over the very sophisticated equipment that she says have been put there.
“We can have the best facilities, we can have the best equipment, we can have the best mobility with vehicles to bring people and the willingness of people to want to go and take the care that is available for them, but if you the nurses, the doctors, the administrators do not put your heart and your passion and your work into it, then all of this does not amount to much,” Mrs. Sirleaf says.

She thanks the Indian partners and others for their contributions in making the dream come true, and also recognizes the quiet efforts and contribution of the Lions Club towards the eye center project.

President Sirleaf says there is a commitment that if “we” continue to work together with the support of those that have pledged to support the center like the Lions Club and others, training could be started for community health workers.

She anticipates that when trained, the community health workers could go into the schools and designated places and determine that there’s something wrong with a child’s eye and then sent them to a place where they can get relieve.

She describes the Eye Center as something good for Liberia and pledges government’s commitment to ensuring that the objectives that have been formulated and the dream that is partially fulfilled by the inauguration of the project will be met.

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Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn recalls that President Sirleaf, during her visit to India in 2013, made the initial contact with the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute of India to come and help establish a world class eye care center in Liberia.

Dr. Dahn says President Sirleaf asked the Indian counterparts to work with other partners on the grounds here to develop an eye care plan, an invitation she says they honored and came here in 2014.

“And since then we have been working together to see what is here today”, she says, adding that it has been a partnership between the Governments of Liberia and India, represented by the JFK Medical Center and the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute of India, the implementing partner.

She concludes that the Liberian Government provided above US$300,000 to renovate the site based on standards provided by the L.V. Prasad, supported travels and accommodation and paid Indian doctors who have started working here to provide services over the past nine months.

JFK Chief Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wvannie Scott – McDonald notes that the Eye Center project is one of the many projects that will be seen working, and expresses happiness for bringing the center back to where it was.

She thanks President Sirleaf for being the key person behind the project, adding that it represents her dream, her hope for Liberia and the fact that the JFK should be moved forward so that Liberians do not have to travel abroad for health care.

By Winston W. Parley

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