(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Friday, February 21, 2014) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed the initiative of a team from the Apollo Hospitals Group to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the John F. Kennedy Medical Center. “Your coming to enable us to initiate a structured partnership is very much welcomed,” the Liberian leader said, adding that it is a great opportunity for the country and a great service which we must take advantage of.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement when a three-member team of the Apollo Hospitals Group paid her a courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry Office on Friday, February 21.
The members of team on a three-day assessment visit to Liberia, at the invitation of Honorary Consul General of India to Liberia, Mr. Upjit Singh Sacheva, were: Senior General Manager-Corporate Development Business Head for Africa, Dr. Harinder Singh Sidhu; Senior Consultant Neurologist, Dr. (Professor) Pushpendra Renjen; and Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Feroz Pasha.
Their visit to Liberia is also the result of President Sirleaf’s September 2013 trip to India where she encouraged Indian businessmen and other well-meaning Indian entrepreneurs to come to Liberia and explore investment opportunities.
President Sirleaf admitted that the JFK Medical Center has a lot of inadequacies in terms of equipment, staffing, among others, but said that if Apollo Hospitals Group can provide some capacity-building support for JFK doctors and other medical staff, that would enhance their own capacity to perform better.
“If you look back from whence JFK and the nation have come since 2006, when JFK was non-functional to where it is today, and if we can really promote that partnership, especially to enhance training opportunities, it would be a good endeavor,” President Sirleaf said. She suggested that, after the MOU is signed, both parties should include timelines to ensure that both sides know their obligations and meet them on time.
The head of the three-member team, Dr. Sidhu, said they were looking forward to how the Liberian health sector, especially the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, can build a long-term cooperation with Apollo Hospitals Group that will also include capacity building and training. “We are looking at how we can work with our brothers and sisters across other countries to develop their health systems,” he said, adding that in their respective careers they have learned much and it is worthwhile sharing their experiences with others across the globe.
Dr. Sidhu said he and his team met with several health officials, including the Minister of Health, authorities at the JFK Medical Center, and other health stakeholders. He expressed his appreciation for the work that the government referral hospital is doing in the country, despite the constraints and limitations, and spoke of his institution’s willingness to provide training opportunities to Liberian health practitioners to travel to India for advanced training in different spheres of medicine.
Dr. Sidhu informed the Liberian leader that during their stay, they held a series of lectures with Liberian resident doctors, whom they found eager to learn and understand. During the visit, the three doctors organized a medical camp, working along with Liberian doctors. They screened about 70 patients with various kinds of ailments.
Dr. Sidhu thanked President Sirleaf for meeting with the team, and said his institution looks forward to building a long- term relationship with the JFK Medical Center.
Apollo Hospitals Group is Asia’s largest healthcare provider. The Group owns and manages over 10,000 hospital beds across 54 hospitals at strategic locations. Apollo has evolved as an integrated healthcare delivery system with expertise in managing hospitals, clinics, hospital project consultancy, healthcare IT and internet based technology, telemedicine, education and training, home healthcare, pharmacy retailing and medical business process outsourcing.
Others at the meeting were Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale; General Administrator of the JFK Medical Center, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald; and the Chief Medical Officer of the JFK Medical Center, Dr. Billy Johnson.