Liberia: MSF provides training for visiting hospital staff

MSF Children's Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

Liberia 2019 © MSF

MONROVIA, Liberia, March 8, 2021—Eighteen staff members from Liberia's James N. Davis Jr. (JDJ) Memorial Hospital have completed a seven-day training program at the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Children's Hospital in Monrovia since the beginning of the year.

The training program, which concluded yesterday, was designed to help JDJ hospital staff treat children with serious conditions such as severe pulmonary infections. Each day, staff from the JDJ hospital visited the MSF Children's Hospital, also known as Bardnesville Junction Hospital, to learn protocols and techniques for safe oxygen delivery, such as through masks or nasal cannulas.

These skills are essential to meeting the medical needs of pediatric patients in Liberia, especially during the current months of Liberia's dry season, when more children suffer from malnutrition or respiratory tract infections, said Dr. James Jikdang, the head of the medical team at the MSF Children's Hospital.

"We frequently admit children at our hospital at this time of year with bronchiolitis, or lung infections, who are in quite critical condition and need oxygen," Dr. Jikdang said. "By inviting colleagues from Liberia's JDJ hospital to complete a training program in our hospital, we have been sharing lessons from our experience in this critical aspect of medical care."

The training participants included 16 health workers such as physician assistants, nurses and midwives. Each day, these participants observed staff in the emergency room and intensive care unit of the MSF hospital and carried out medical activities under MSF's supervision. Another two participants, an electrician and a biomedical technician, focused on biomedical equipment and maintenance.

"We have them work together with our regular staff at the patient's bedsides," said Kebeh Zagbah, MSF's head nurse. "Then, toward the end of the day, they meet with me and our training nurse to discuss what they have observed and learned."

A second aspect of the training program focused on infection prevention and control, such as through hand hygiene, the sterilization of equipment, and protocols for preventing diseases including COVID-19 and Ebola.

MSF opened the MSF Children's Hospital in 2015 to address gaps in pediatric care during the Ebola epidemic. The hospital treats children under the age of 15 for a wide variety of medical conditions, including pediatric surgery, and facilitates training for Liberian health workers in various aspects of pediatric care. In 2020, the hospital admitted a total of 4,251 patients.