The government-operated G.W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, Nimba County is now a mere prescription center, directing patients seeking medication to go out and buy drugs for themselves.
Hospital authorities have resorted to providing only prescription services due to acute shortage of drugs in the facility that serves in Nimba and from neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Patients explain to the New Dawn whenever they report at the hospital daily to seek medication, doctors and nurses instead, direct them to a specific drugstore to buy drugs being prescribed for administration.
They note that this has been the unfortunate situation at G.W. Harley in the past four months or more.
A New Dawn’s investigation discovers that due to the lack of supplies, staff in the laboratory department request patients to buy two sets of gloves at the price of 25 Liberian Dollars each to be used them.
Some of the patients, including Olinkeh Tokpah, Yileh Towah, a caretaker from Bowah Town near Saclepea, District#7 and Marthaline Tokpah from Nenpa in Sanniquellie say this is not the first time that the government hospital has been without drugs.
They disclose that for the past eight months, the authorities have mandate patients to buy all needed materials before accessing services at the facility.
Other patients from far distances lament that due to lack of funds, the G.W. Harley Hospital is the only health facility they go for medication, but situation has changed with health workers were now asking them to buy materials, including drugs needed for their medication.
Before now, the G.W. Harley Hospital named in memory of a United Methodist missionary, Doctor G.W. Harley had provided free services.
Doctor Harley also constructed the Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Ganta City, which is significantly serving the health needs of residents of the commercial district and the country at large.
The issue of drug shortage is affecting all 74 health facilities in the 17 administrative districts of Nimba County, with some of them being without drugs for almost a year.
When contacted, the medical director for the G.W. Harley Hospital, Doctor Natty Joe, refutes claims that patients are being asked to buy drugs and materials before they can be treated.
She says though drug shortage in Liberia is a national concern, but the hospital has essential drugs.
Doctor Joe maintains that all services are free, but she calls on the people of Nimba to make maximum use of the facility.
Citizens in the county reveal that half of the health workers at G.W. Harley operate private drugstores where patients are usually referred to buy drugs prescribed for medication.
By Thomas Domah /Nimba –Editing by Jonathan Browne