GBARNGA, Bong â€“ Bongâ€™s Sen. Henrique Tokpa has begun to distribute medical supplies and equipment worth US$350,000 to hospitals and clinics in Bong.
The senator said the supplies were acquired in the U.S. through the support of a political group called Friends of Tokpa. They include hospital beds, gloves, personal protective equipment, patient gowns, towels, crutches, and refrigerators. Besides the cost of the equipment, Tokpa said an additional cost of shipping came up to US$15,000.
â€œWith the help of the Friends of Tokpa support group in the United States that was very helpful in my ascendency to the position as senator, we were able to obtain some medical supplies that were shipped in two 40-foot containers,â€ Tokpa said.
The senator had vowed during last yearâ€™s political campaign to work through his contacts overseas to provide medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and health posts in Bong if elected senator.
â€œAnd we want to believe that there is more in store; we will continue to do more for our county as we see that there is a great need for attention to the hospitals and clinics,â€ he noted.
Tokpa won the July 31, 2018 senatorial by-election in Bong ahead of four other contenders, campaigning mainly on the basis of reconciliation.
Out of a total of 60,463 votes, Tokpa received 27,806 votes (47.0 percent) to replace current Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor in the Senate.
â€œOn behalf of the Friends of Tokpa and the people of Bong County, my office, we are pleased to present to you these medical supplies for the use of C.B. Dunbar Hospital,â€ Tokpa said during the presentation at the hospital. â€œWe are glad to serve the people of Bong County through your hospital.â€
The medical director of C.B. Dunbar Hospital, Dr. Kour Geah, received the donation on behalf of the hospital and thanked the senator and his international friends for the gesture to the only maternity hospital in central Liberia.
Geah said the materials came at a time when the hospital was in dire need of medical supplies to enhance its operations.
â€œThese materials are so, so helpful, I canâ€™t overemphasize it but they are so helpful. For the refrigerators, we are going to store our blood components, we are going to store other supplies in it,â€ Geah said.
She thanked Tokpa and the Friends of Tokpa for the donation to C.B. Dunbar Hospital, which she said caters to patients from the central region of Liberia as well as patients from Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Phebe and Bong Mines Hospitals also received their share of the supplies on Monday and equally expressed gratitude to the senator for his intervention in the health sector of the county.
Geah spoke of the lack of ambulance, drugs and medical supplies as challenges facing the hospital.
â€œAmong the challenges we have, the crucial one now is the ambulance system. The ambulance is down; we have been repairing and repairing,â€ she said.
She is appealing to the Ministry of Health and lawmakers of the county to help provide an ambulance for the hospital to help transport patients from far-flung places to seek medical treatment.
Meanwhile, a member of the Friends of Tokpa in the U.S., Florence Keller, said her group will remain supportive of Tokpaâ€™s initiatives in Bong.
Keller, who is currently visiting Liberia, said she was touched by some of the stories of the shortages of medical materials such as gloves in hospitals in Liberia.
She acknowledged all the members of the Friends of Tokpa who contributed the materials that are being distributed to the health posts.
â€œWe have a lot of plans but the medical donation is just the startup. And we just hope that those who are taking these things use them.â€ Keller said, adding that she has received complaints that some patients are made to purchase their own gloves in some of the facilities.
Featured photo by Mohammed Kwenah.