It beholds on the professional judgment and critical skills of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of Health to infuse the concepts of innovation, new skills and a measurable timeline within the boundaries of the Ministry of Health’s past ridiculous endeavors and the future in which Minister Jallah hope to take the Ministry, not at the peril of very poor Liberians, but certainly to their maximum advantage. Liberians are 100% confident that the Ministry of Health under Dr. Jallah will be run differently from other Health Ministers in past governments.
Minister Jallah and her able lieutenants cannot enhance innovation in itself. Liberians will need to help in the process by advancing their suggestions, recommendations and candid advice that will buttress the innovative work of the Ministry of Health, but the minister must first unveil her positive plan of action she has for the poor people of Liberia. Minister Jallah and H.E. President Weah are definitively aware that health care costs had been creating an additional hardship on poor Liberians from time immemorial.
Health Care cost one of the most fundamental areas that have continued to impose acute hardship on Liberians. Families, students, the unemployed and the downtrodden in Liberia are often confronted with a daily health care cost from time to time. This systematic problem has to be handled by Dr. Jallah and H.E President Weah head on now not later.
There are two different kinds of Health Care services in Liberia. The first Health Care Service is the Private Health Care Service. The second is the Public Health Care Service run by the Government of Liberia. This includes the John F. K. Memorial Referral Center and a number of other smaller health posts around Liberia. Both sectors have some fundamental underlining problems that have continued to cause hardship on Liberians.
The fundamental problems that cut across the both services are: the cash and carry system, a high cost of prescription medications, urgent registration at medical health posts upon arrival, doctors’ consultative fees for specialists, high costs of medication by privately owned Pharmacists, payment for ambulance services and a long and short-term hospitalizations system. These problems have added to the hardship being experienced by Liberians, especially the poor, students, the unemployed and the downtrodden who elected H.E President Weah.
The cash and carry system often compelled Liberians who report at any health posts in Liberia, to pay for registration, treatments including surgeries, doctors’ fees, special operations and the attainment of private drug prescriptions on site. A down payment of 100% of medical service fees must be fulfilled by patients right upon their arrival at the hospital. This system is killing Liberians slowly. Furthermore, hundreds of ordinary Liberians especially the unemployed, students, downtrodden masses are dying each day in their numbers because of the cash and carry medical system which should be eradicated from the Liberian health sector both private and public.
Poor Liberians who proceed to these health posts for treatment do not normally have money on their person to pay for treatment, neither are they allowed to credit the hospital services to their advantage. As a result, most Liberians who report at those hospitals for treatment without fund end up dying prematurely because of lack of cash on hand to pay for their medical services. H.E President Weah should work towards abolishing the so-called “cash and carry” system which is killing Liberians across Liberia, especially in a country where its citizens are surviving on less than a $1 dollar a day and are simply unable to get three meals a day.
It must be noted that most Liberians are simply unable to purchase private insurance to subsidize their individual health care costs across Liberia. H.E President Weah should encourage every health posts to depart from the cash and carry system. Hospitals should rather bill each patient who reports for medical treatment at their hospital of their chosen.