A team of surgeons from a United States-based health organization, Operation International, in partnership with another group, Marcy Health Services, is expected in Liberia in June to conduct a medical outreach at the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia.
The doctors and nurses from Operation International met with Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, to seek the government’s support for the planned Medical Outreach, according to a dispatch from the US.
They were led by the Chief Executive Officer of Marcy Health Services, Mrs. Saiyai Hansen.
Following the introduction of the team by Rudolph Sherman, Consul General of Liberia in New York, plastic surgeon Dr. Sanjay Lalla explained that their team of medical doctors, surgeons, nurses and anaesthesiologists are planning to travel to Liberia in June to provide needed health services in the areas of general and plastic surgery, paediatrics, gynaecology, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) at the JFK hospital.
Dr. Lalla hinted on the possibility of a partnership with the JFK Hospital that would lead to an annual or bi-annual outreach, and is seeking the support of the government of Liberia to ensure the safety of his team and the expedited clearing of medical supplies, materials and equipment that would be brought into the country for the mission.
“We had just concluded our mission to Uganda and Saiyai and I had a conversation – can we go to Liberia? Can we create a team that can go, and not just go one time? So here we are.”
“Hopefully, if everything works well, we can continue to grow and provide yearly missions or bi-annual missions, whatever is possible; as long as we are able to go into the country and be safe and secure.
“As long as the medical supplies, materials and equipment we bring in can be cleared by the Government of Liberia in time and secure – we are ready to create that partnership,” said Dr. Lalla.
On his part, Ambassador Kemayah welcomed the team and lauded them for their interest in complementing the government’s effort in ensuring the delivery of quality health care services across Liberia, which is primarily the responsibility of the government; a responsibility Ambassador Kemayah stressed President Dr. George Manneh Weah and the Government of Liberia are fully committed to; and implementing.
Envoy Kemayah explained that the health needs of the people in Liberia are tremendous, particularly those within the rural areas and assured that the Government was fully committed to responding to those needs; exploring every avenue to bring health benefits to the people of Liberia in keeping with the current development mandate of President Weah.
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, Ambassador Kemayah cited the provision of scholarships to 15 medical students to study abroad; the placement of 2,000 health workers on government payroll; and the provision of tuition-free education to all students at public universities; including those studying Health Sciences, as “evidence of the unflinching practical commitment of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and the government of Liberia to ensuring a quality health service delivery system in the country; and improving the health sector.”
The Liberian diplomat then expressed interest and the need for a sustained partnership that would go beyond the JFK Hospital, and reach out to the Jackson Fiah Doe Hospital and other health facilities in rural Liberia; including, but not limited to, Lofa County, Southeastern Liberia, and Western Liberia.
Operation International is a medical non-profit organization established in 1996 to offer needed medical aid to children and adults in developing countries. It is made up of 12 teams that travel across the world to conduct surgical outreaches.