Liberia: MSF Opens Pediatric Surgery Program
MSF surgeon, Dr. John Lawrence, operates on a child at Bardnesville Junction Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.
MONROVIA, LIBERIA/NEW YORK, JANUARY 31, 2018—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a pediatric surgical program at Bardnesville Junction Hospital (BJH) on the outskirts of Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Jan. 11, with a goal of making surgical care more available for children in the country.
MSF established BJH as a pediatric hospital in 2015 as the West African Ebola epidemic made it more difficult for Liberia’s medical community to meet health care needs. The facility is now expanding its medical services to include emergency and non-emergency surgery for children.
BJH already serves as a training site for Liberian nurses, and the surgical program is intended to provide practical training opportunities for Liberian surgical residents and nurse anesthetists.
“The needs for pediatric surgery here are extensive, and the program has been quite busy in its first few weeks,” said Dr. John Lawrence, an MSF pediatric surgeon at BJH and the president of the board of MSF-USA. “Because there has not been a facility with a dedicated pediatric surgical team here before, there are a wide variety of cases that require pediatric surgery.”
Some of the first surgeries performed at BJH included hernia repairs, a laparotomy (abdominal surgery) for a child with an intestinal condition called intussusception, and the draining of a liver abscess for a three-year-old boy.
Pediatric surgeons typically have expertise in operating on children with congenital problems or pediatric diseases that general surgeons are unfamiliar with, Dr. Lawrence said. Pediatric anesthesia also requires specific training and expertise.
“I find it extremely rewarding to be a pediatric surgeon in this context, with a highly dedicated team of hospital personnel from Liberia and beyond,” Dr. Lawrence said. “We plan to continue and broaden the scope of our surgical activities in the coming months and years.”
In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy. Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking. We are excited about taking this historic step and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.
“It looks like demagogues on the left and the right win again on immigration.
“I’m disappointed with today’s outcome in the Senate. I supported all four proposals, including the legislation backed by President Trump. Unfortunately, they all failed to reach the sixty votes necessary to move forward.
“I’m very proud of the bipartisan effort (Rounds-King) that would have given President Trump his border wall system money and created a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. This two-pillar approach is the best way to deal with phase one of immigration reform. Receiving fifty-four votes for this construct was encouraging. We are not there yet, but we will keep working to build our numbers.
“Looking ahead, I continue to believe there is a deal to be had on immigration that gives President Trump many of his priorities on the border and relief for the DACA-eligible population.
“I do not believe victory will be achieved by further politicization of this issue. That’s the oldest game in the Swamp – blame the other side. There’s already enough intensity around immigration.
“The only way forward is for President Trump to grab the reins and lead us to a solution.”