The St. Joseph Catholic Hospital yesterday opened its doors to the public following months of closure as a result of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak which victimized a number of medical staff and missionaries. The hospital’s re-opening was attended by a number of international Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Catholic Church in Liberia and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The Human Resources Manager of the hospital, Mr. Joel N. Williams said the hospital attended to 23 patients yesterday but did not admit any because the reopening process will be carried out on a gradual basis.
Mr. Williams said the hospital is beginning its operations on a gradual basis by first reopening its Maternity ward with eight beds which will be increased on a weekly basis with the sponsorship of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
He noted that those seeking treatment at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospitals’ maternity ward only have to pay for registration and all other fees will be handled by the ICRC. The hospital’s HR said evaluation will be carried out every week and when there is improvement, the operation will proceed to include the Pediatric ward which is expected to be sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia.
Mr. Williams said prior to the reopening of the hospital, 13 training sessions relative to the management and prevention of Ebola was held under the sponsorship of the ICRC and the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia.
He also disclosed that the hospital has put into place stringent measures aimed at curtailing or preventing the spread of Ebola at the hospital. Mr. Williams said based upon the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) has erected a triage where patients will be screened and examined before seeking treatment at the hospital.
He disclosed that the CRS has also erected a Community Care Center (CCC) on the grounds of the hospital where suspected Ebola patients will be kept before going to an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU).
The hospital was closed when many of its staff became victims of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has ravaged the country in recent times.