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JFK Medical Center: From Hell to A Safe Haven, What is H.E. President Doing?

Most Liberians become dramaturgical when the dilemma of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center is being highlighted in most circles in Liberia. Others become apprehensive, while others become unresponsive and deceptive. But one salient fact remains in the memories of Liberians that is, the JFK was once turned into a potential death trap by past governments of Liberia from 1980 to 2005. Today, it appears that the JFK is more than a safe haven for poor Liberians. Liberians expect H.E. President Weah to sustain the ongoing maintenance of the JFK’s facilities.

47-years ago in 1971, the late President William V. S Tubman asked John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States in 1961 to build a health center for Liberians, while he the late President Tubman was on an official state visit to the US. The late President Tubman requested a funding of a National Medical Center for poor Liberians. The Center was funded late with a $6.8 million loan and a $9.2 million in grants from USAID and the Liberian Government contributed $1 million. The construction began in 1965 and the Center was commissioned in 1971.

Both the late Presidents Tubman of Liberia and Kennedy of the US will be uneasy in their graves at this moment due to how past Liberian Governments from 1980 to 2004 intentionally turned the JFK into a potential graveyard for poor Liberians, due to the blatant neglect and abuse by former government of Liberia.

For example, when the late Doe was in power for 10-years, he blatantly ignored the JFK. When the former President Amos Claudius Sawyer was in power for 4-years, he too ignored the JFK. When the former Moses Blah was also in power for few months he also ignored JFK. When the late President Bryant was in power for 3-years, he also ignored the JFK. When former Taylor was in power for 6-years, he ignored the JFK. When former President Sirleaf’s got in power for 12-years she lifted the spirit of the JFK and turned it into a safe haven for poor Liberians.

At least, the ghosts of former President Tubman and President Kennedy of the US are smiling in their graves as at now. They may also want to hug the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald, for making a case to the then President Sirleaf’s administration of a US$6.6m to renovate, equip and development of the IT infrastructure of the hospital by making it a new brand entity in Liberia.

The JFK should be a fundamental challenge to H.E. President Weah, especially for the upkeep of the maintenance of the JFK. The 4 million inhabitants of Liberia are heavily dependent on the JFK Memorial Referral Hospital for their survivor. The health of Liberians should be as paramount as the fight against rampant corruption in Liberia by H.E. President Weah. H.E. President can endeavor to undertake a number of significant developments, but the health of the people of Liberia should be paramount.

First, H.E. President Weah should endeavor to honor all doctors, nurses and physician assistants, genitals and the security personnel at the JFK for a marvelous work well done by infusing life in the JFK once again after a period of protracted years of vivid neglect by past insensitive governments of Liberia.

Second, H.E. President Weah should ensure that the doctors, nurses, physicians and the entire workforce are paid adequately and on time. Third, there should be regular maintenance of all the equipment, medical instruments, and the upkeep of the IT department of JFK’s properly. Fourth, beds for in-and-out patients at the JFK should be protected and not stolen. Fifth, H.E. President Weah should put in place a mechanism to attract foreign medical doctors from the US, China, Nigeria and Ghana to conduct an in-service training program for JFK’s doctors, nurses and physician assistant. With advanced skills that can meet up with the challenges of the 21st century.

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H.E. President Weah’s government should keep up with the effective maintenance of the JFK. The JFK should not be treated ridiculously as it was done by past governments of Liberia. In order for H.E. President Weah to take the JFK seriously, the President will need to pass a presidential decree for all government officials, including members of the judiciary, the House of Representatives/Senate and the executive which includes H.E. President Weah, and all other affluent or rich Liberians to report at the JFK for all their medical treatment s when they fall sick, rather fly to another country like Ghana, Nigeria, Europe, America or South Africa for medical treatment. Sick Liberians should only fly to a foreign land for their medical treatment when it is established by the JFK doesn’t have the appropriate medical expertise and or device(s) to treat the person concerned, then, the JFK can make a case for a referral outside of Liberia. The JFK will be appreciated if and only if every Liberian including H.E. President of the Republic of Liberia seeks medical treatments also at the JFK.

The citizens and governments of Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, USA, Europe and the state of Israel may have invested in their health posts, hospitals, and medical laboratories to make it what it is today. Those nations invested heavily to develop the skills of their doctors, nurses, and physicians over the years.
They managed to develop and cultivate trust, confidence, and reliability in their doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants for which they take their doctors and nurses and their health posts very seriously. President Weah should begin to cultivate the spirit of trust; confidence and reliability in our doctors at least for the first time since July 26, 1847, to make JFK a proud and save medical Center in Liberia—Stop traveling abroad for treatment.

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