Liberia: Medical & Dental Asso. Postpones Retreat; Joins Others in Fight against COVID-19

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Monrovia – The Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA) has, with immediate effect postponed its proposed regular national retreat slated to have taken place in Ganta, Nimba County.

LMDA’s action is in observance and consideration of the current global outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which has already hit Liberia.

Dr. Emmanuel Ekyinaba, president of the LMDA said LMDA is a law-abiding and professional organization and it is interested in the welfare of its members and the general population.

Dr. Ekyinaba further said doctors are at the forefront of any health crises and as such, they should be the first group of individuals to set examples for non-health practitioners to follow.

Dr. Moses Ziah, LMDA’s Assistant Secretary General, reading the organization’s press statement, they are deeply concerned about Liberia going through another pandemic, which might breakdown several other systems, including the country’s struggling economy

“Amid these circumstances surrounding the first reported case, it must therefore be considered that there is a significant risk of possible spread of the virus in the population and such risk must be acknowledged and measures must be employed at all levels to respond rapidly,” Dr. Ziah said.

“LMDA acknowledges the efforts of national government thus far for the level of commitment towards the fight of the diseases and steps taken to reduce the spread of the disease by suspending academic activities, limiting the number of staff at public institutions, and regulating movements relative to international and national travel recommendations. These efforts are all in positive direction and we encourage the government to do more in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus,” he said.

The LMDA assistant secretary general said circumstances surrounding the primary case in Liberia has created many unanswered questions which suggest the need for a more robust surveillance system.

Progressive worsening healthcare delivery system

The Liberia Medical and Dental Association has blamed the many health crises reaching to higher levels on the poor healthcare system the country has.

“The fight against emerging and reemerging diseases such as the current coronavirus pandemic is directly proportional to the resilience of the healthcare delivery system.

“Therefore, the LMDA notes the downward trend of the healthcare delivery system in Liberia and wishes to call on the attention of government to prioritize improving this sector of our country amid the global and national health crisis,” Ziah admonished.

He said that the most distressing realization is that the deaths of people suffering from preventable or curable diseases occur at health facilities where there are qualified and competent professional health workers who have the knowledge and skills to save these patients but lack the needed drugs and equipment to do so.

He noted that considering the prevalence of emerging and remerging epidemic diseases across different regions in the world, the need to strengthen the entire health sector of the country needs no overemphasis.

“The World Health Organization’s doctor to patients ratio is one doctor to 1000 patients but sadly for Liberia, we are still far behind, even though there are some efforts directed at training doctors in specialized areas of service,” Ziah said.

The LMDA lauded the government’s acceptance to avoid reducing through the salary harmonization scheme the ‘little’ salaries healthcare professionals are making.   

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