Monrovia - Financial aid is said to be pouring in since FrontPageAfrica trumpeted the plight of young mothers stranded at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center over unsettled bills.
Two of the mothers identified only as Winifred and Princess were released through the intervention of Mr. Alfred Togba, publisher of the People’s Newspaper and an unnamed Good Samaritan.
There are currently more than twelve women being held over unpaid bills. Three lost their babies; five had successful deliveries while others went in for surgery due to growth and low blood pressure.
Miatta, a 7-month-old pregnant mother was taken to the hospital because she had low blood. However, she adds that the fees charged were just too high for her to pay.
The young woman said she was at home when she started to feel dizzy. “My eyes were turning and my boyfriend hurriedly rushed me to the clinic. There, they told us they had no blood so he had to bring me here, but my bill was seventeen thousand Liberian dollars. He has paid some, LD$6,000 is remaining.
“The hospital previously told me I was to be discharge but when he came they said I can’t go because I still have an outstanding amount to be pay.”
Miatta told a FrontPageAfrica reporter that conditions at the JFK is deplorable. “It is in a bad state and there are not even beddings on the bed.
Isatu, who delivered a baby boy recently, explained that she has been unable to come up with the money because her spouse, who is the breadwinner in the family, was involved in an accident making it impossible for her to come up with the money.
Says Isatu: “He rides bike and we have three children. The night I gave birth he was to come but then he got hit by a vehicle and was badly injured. I was told his leg got broken. So for me, my boyfriend kept the delivery fees but we can’t pay because of his accident, he is our only source of support.”
Isatu complained that the hospital has no curtain thereby leaving her baby exposed to mosquito bites, something she said will hinder the health of her child.
FPA investigation gathered that approximately LD$132,445.00 is the remaining amount of the 12 that are partly living in the hospital.
At the same time, our investigation gathered that the authorities at the JFK facility have told securities to apply stringent measures to all patients.
One source suggested that the hospital administration is currently blaming the girls for the publication adding that their stay in the hospital is not money, but rather that some of the girls are awaiting doctor’s approval before being discharged.
Mercy, the youngest among the women, gave birth to a baby girl on March 27 and her bill is LD$14,000.
She said she has no knowledge of where the money will come from as her boyfriend has denied that he is the father of the child.
The JFK” is known throughout Liberia as the nation’s largest referral hospital, located in the capital city, Monrovia. Founded in 1972, the Medical Center is the only tertiary care institution in the country and is a major teaching hospital. Although severely damaged during the Liberian Civil War, it has been largely rehabilitated and continues to improve is capabilities and grow its capacity.
The Medical Center is comprised of the JFK Memorial Hospital, the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital, the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (a nursing and paramedical school), and the Catherine Mills Psychiatric Center, which was completely destroyed during the war.
In 2016, the head of JFK, Dr. Wannie Scott-McDonald outlined her achievements since taking over the helm of the medical center, ranging from training of staffers, renovation of the hospital, increment in salary, regular drug supplies etc.
Dr. McDonald furthered that the JFK Medical Center occupies a very special place in Liberia, adding that patients’ doctors’ ratio is favorable. “JFK is not just for treatment alone, we are training doctors and nurses.”
“JFK is the last hope of the poor man. If you take JFK out of the system, the system will collapse; this hospital does not refuse you because you do not have money.”