V.P. Boakai Concerned About Conflict in Côte d’Ivoire

Saturday, 26th February 2011

Monrovia, Liberia - The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, Sr., has expressed concern that the massive influx of Ivorian refugees in northeastern and southeastern Liberia could further compound the health challenges confronting post-war Liberia.

He said while some progress has been in revamping the country’s healthcare delivery system, including the revamping of the A.M Dogliotti Medical College and the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts, several challenges, including shortage of trained medical practitioners, drugs and equipment, still persist. Accordingly, he observed, without the intervention of the international community, the influx will overwhelm northeastern Liberia’s healthcare delivery system.

Vice President Boakai made observation Friday evening, when a three-man delegation from the U.S based medical company Johnson & Johnson, accompanied by Deputy Minister Dr. Mohamed Sheriff, paid a courtesy call on him at his Capitol Building office.

The delegation which ended its visit Friday, was in the country to support the UN Population Fund’s campaign to end Fistula in Liberia. (Fistula is a medical condition characterized by the uncontrollable discharge of urine and feces).

“About 60 percent of all patients seeking medication at health centers in border towns are from Guinea and Sierra Leone,” adding this has overwhelmed health centers in these areas.

 Vice President Boakai thanked the Johnson &Johnson delegation for choosing to assist Liberia’s health sector, noting, “We are making some progress in health care delivery, but our needs are unending. Indeed, the challenges are many but we have come a long way.”

In remarks earlier, Mr. Conrad Person, Director of Corporate Contributions at Johnson & Johnson who headed the delegation, said his delegation was impressed with the tremendous progress taking place in Liberia today. “We have seen tremendous determination and energy to face challenges confronting the nation,” Mr. Person observed.

He said Johnson & Johnson has conceived a project to train doctors and nurses to strengthen post-war Liberia’s health sector and enable it fully meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Also making remarks were Mr. Rene Kiamba, Manager of Sub-Saharan Africa for Johnson & Johnson and Denis Robson, who also commended the Unity Party-led Government for the visible changes taking place in Liberia today.

Mr. Kiamba said when he visited Liberia few years ago, the changes he is seeing today were nowhere to be seen, adding, “We are encouraged. We commend you.” He said Johnson & Johnson was proud to be part of the post-war country’s success story.

Johnson & Johnson focuses on making life-changing, long-term differences in health by tackling the world’s major health related issued. The group’s community work in Africa dates back to 75 years. It is in more than 25 African countries.