By Ethel A Tweh
Liberia’s Minister of Health-designate, Dr. Louise M. Kpoto, has envisioned the establishment of a trauma unit to reduce burden on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in catering to burnt and accident patients if confirmed.
The major trauma center is supported by a number of trauma units. Trauma units are important in providing immediate life-saving services to patients who, because of their injuries, are not stable enough to travel to the major trauma center.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Dabah Vapilah on Monday, February 5, 2024, for confirmation hearing, Dr. Kpoto said the country’s largest health center is overwhelmed with many cases.
Giving her emergency plans to the Health Committee, she recalled the gas tanker explosion in Totota, Bong County which claimed lives of over 60 citizens, noting how challenging it was to the major health center due to space limitation.
Dr. Kpoto stressed the need to construct a trauma unit besides the JFK hospital to adequately address and focus on victims of fire incidents, as in the case of the Totota situation as well as to accumulate severe and major motor accident cases, among others.
“If we have to build, it may take time but can we just look at a particular building to convert it to a trauma unit. I’m not only looking at the burned patients, and the motorcyclist accidents, there are accidents that will come from the keh-keh or the tricycle, so the JFK doesn’t have that capacity to absorb all those kinds of cases and besides the capacity of absorbing those cases, you need trained health workers,” she stressed.
The Health Minister-designate further emphasized the need to have more trained health workers in infectious control to operate the trauma unit as she envisages if confirmed by the Senate.
“There is more concentration at the ER at the JFK and during my visit there, most of the doctors were running here and there to the ER and focusing on the burned patients. Had we built or converted a building to a trauma unit which will have a burn unit, it will solve this problem within the health sector.” She added.
She also named infrastructure, education, motivation as well as monitoring and evaluation as hallmarks of her leadership for medical practitioners mainly assigned in rural parts of the country.
At the same time, Dr. Louise M. Kpoto emphasized that if confirmed, the Senate will not get the expected results from the health sector if needed budgetary support is not provided, saying “Give me the necessary support and you’ll get the health sector that you want.”
Dr. Kpoto has also told the Chair and members of the Senate Committee on Health that if confirmed, her administration will work tirelessly to ensure the sector is second to none.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Health through its Chair, Senator Dabah Vapilah is expected to report to the plenary of the august body in coming days on outcome of the hearing. Editing by Jonathan Browne