Limited Bed Capacity at JFK Medical Center

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s chief medical officer warns of limited bed capacity at the medical complex.

Speaking at a May 20 press conference, Dr. Jerry Brown explained that recent renovations had attracted many more patients from the hospital’s catchment population of around 1.2 to 1.5 million people.

Those renovations culminated in Pres. George Weah’s dedication of a newly renovated and expanded intensive care and trauma unit. The Executive Mansion said the project was funded by the National Oil Company of Liberia and TGS-Nopec, an energy exploration company assisting the government in attracting investors to the Harper Basin offshore oil blocks.

Dr. Brown noted that many more people have been drawn to the hospital as a source of primary care even though the facility was meant to serve as a tertiary referral health center.

As a result, Brown said “bed capacity was a problem and continues to be a problem for the institution.”

“We currently have a bed capacity of around 250 to 300 in [the] memorial [hospital] and at the maternity [hospital], around 150 to 200,” he added.

Dr. Jerry Brown, the Chief Medical Officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Photo Zeze Ballah

Part of the reason for the limited space at the medical center, Brown said, is because there are still parts of the facility that have not yet been rehabilitated, despite all the work that the current administration has done.

Despite these challenges, Brown said the institution had made significant strides to provide quality health services over the past three years.

He detailed that 80 percent of the facility’s budget goes towards human resources and salaries, with the balance 20 percent used as operations fund.

He noted that the maternity hospital, initially created with funding from the Japanese government, is now attending to between 2,000 patients monthly. “More than 255 surgeries are done for maternal-related emergencies that are referred from different facilities across the country,” he added.

Following the end of the civil crisis, the Japanese government resumed its cooperation with Liberia, renovated the maternity hospital, and equipped it with medical equipment. That project cost US$3.4 million and was implemented by the United Nations Office of Project Services and funded by Japan. Upon completion, it was turned over to the Liberian government in November 2010.

Brown said the hospital’s current administration was now including additional beds in maternity delivery rooms to accommodate mothers who came and overstayed.

JFK’s chief medical officer said his administration and the government were exploring options for dealing with the current challenges of the medical center.

Featured photo Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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