By: Frank P. Martin
MONROVIA: Health Minister-designate, Dr. Louise M. Kpoto, has described health financing as a surest way to revitalizing the country’s poor health system.
Dr. Kpoto believed the current budget for health financing in the country cannot address the compounded issues confronting the country’s system.
“My team and I including international partners will do active involvement to appropriate actual financial allocation to help revitalize the health system.
We will also mobilize both international and local partners. We will look at those institutions, like JFK that are generating funds to ensure that the funds being generated are placed in government’s revenue to help the country.
Take for instance; we have a banking system at JFK, where people deposit their money instead of the money going over the canter. You look at the health insurance scheme, that health insurance scheme is for the poor people, the elderly, the pregnant women, the under-five years old can have access to healthcare,” Dr. Kpoto explained at her confirmation hearing on Monday, February 5, 2024.
The health minister-designate: “So now, as it relates to the rural areas, the first things we are going to look at is the five-kilometer health declaration. A community should be five-kilometer away from the health facility.”
Dr. Kpoto told the Liberian Senate that if confirmed, she will ensure rural health workers’ incentives are improved and institutions of learning for their kids will also be prioritized so as to serve as a motivation for them.
She underscored the need for establishment of a dedicated trauma unit in the country’s healthcare system as a means of ensuring a vibrant health sector that will address the various health needs of the people.
Dr. Kpoto said once the trauma unit is constructed, it will reduce the burdens on John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in catering to burnt and accident patients across Liberia.
She pledged to ensure proper training of staffers, availability of necessary equipment, and a streamlined referral system to enhance trauma care.
The major trauma center is supported by a number of trauma units, while trauma units are also important in providing immediate life-saving services to patients due to their injuries, she told the Senate.
Appearing for confirmation before the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Kpoto noted that the country’s largest health center is overwhelmed with many minor cases which require government’s attention.
She said building a trauma unit, aside from what is at the JFK, is to adequately address and focus on individual victims of natural disasters like the Totota situation.
Disclosing her plans to revive the country’s health sector, the MoH Minister-designate disclosed that “And one thing, the construction of a new structure might take a longtime, but we can look at a particular building to convert it to a trauma unit.”
“Because I am not only looking at the burnt motorcyclists, kehkeh and others, but also we will need to train healthcare workers and equip the facility up to standard,” she emphasized.
The Minister-designate stressed the need for more trained health workers in infectious control to effectively and professionally operate the trauma unit as envisioned.
She said, “As we speak, there is more concentration at the JFK Emergency Room, and during my visit there, most of the doctors were running here and there, focusing on burned patients and leaving other patients alone.”
“But had we built or converted a building to a trauma unit, which will have a burn unit, it would have solved this problem within the health sector first hand.”
The MoH Minister-designate said infrastructure, education, and motivation, coupled with monitoring and evaluation, will be the hallmarks of her administration.
She placed emphasis on medical practitioners mainly assigned in rural Liberia, and assured them of her plans to provide a conducive working environment for all healthcare workers.
She vowed not be an office-type minister but rather she will be in the field if confirmed.
Kpoto promised to work with team members from the ministry to go across the country to ascertain the health challenges confronting citizens.
“If given the opportunity, I promise to transform the health sector and make it second to none in the sub region,” Dr. Kpoto said.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Health is expected to report to the Plenary of the august body in the coming days for further actions.