Tag: 夜上海论坛RG

President Weah, Please Answer Phebe Hospital’s SOS Call and Save Our Rural People

first_imgWe consider this Editorial a very serious one, because it is intended to make a direct and urgent appeal to President George Weah to come to Phebe Hospital’s rescue, in the same way President William R. Tolbert saved this hospital in 1973.What is at stake is yet another very serious crisis at one of the nation’s leading medical and health institutions—Phebe Hospital in Suacoco, Bong County.  Why is Phebe so  critical?  Because it serves millions of rural Liberians; and also travelers through Liberia’s vast interior that may fall sick en route or become victims of terrible accidents along the highways leading through Bong County, on to Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and beyond.Why do we say that history is about to repeat itself?  Because the crisis at Phebe today is identical to that which befell Phebe in 1973, just after Dr. Walter Gwenigale returned home from his highly successful medical studies in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles, California, United States of America.The alarming story from our Bong County Correspondent Marcus Malayea, published on the back page of yesterday’s Daily Observer, told us that Phebe is probably the nation’s oldest hospital—97 years.  It was started by American Lutherans in Harrisburg, Montserrado County around 1921 when they opened their first Liberian mission in this part of Montserrado County, on the Right Bank of the St. Paul River.  Attached to the hospital was a School of Nursing.  There in Harrisburg the Lutherans also planted the E.V. Day Girls School.  The Lutherans put their male students school across the river in Millsburg, and called it the Muelenberg Boys School.Nearly a half century later the Lutherans, in collaboration with the Episcopal and Methodist Churches, relocated Phebe to Suacoco, in the then Central Province which in 1964 became Bong County.  It was an ultra-modern medical facility in the heart of rural Liberia, equipped with a modern operating room and X-ray department, electricity and running water.  A little later, Phebe joined with Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University) to open the nation’s first degree-granting School of Nursing.But immediately upon Dr. Gwenigale’s return from his medical studies, the Lutheran missionaries at Phebe told him they were closing Phebe and turning it into a health center.  They said there was no money to continue running the hospital, because American Lutherans were now focusing on saving “the heathen at home, rather than the heathen abroad.”Dr. Gwenigale, who had returned with his Puerto Rican wife Carmen, a well-trained radiologist and their year-old  first son, Walter, Jr., did not panic at this alarming revelation.  The doctor, also a surgeon, made a fast move.  He drove to Monrovia one morning and found his Cuttington classmate, now a journalist, at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and told him the terrible news about Phebe.  Walter Gwenigale, along with his Lutheran Training Institute classmate Wilton Sankawulo, had graduated in 1959, just as Kenneth Y. Best had graduated from the Booker Washington Institute that same year and the three of them, among many others from all over Liberia, met at Cuttington as freshmen in February 1960.  In mid-1961 the Lutherans sent Walter to Puerto Rico for medical studies.  He presented to his classmate the crisis he faced immediately on his return—Phebe, the hospital he had returned home well prepared to serve, was closing down.“So what do you want me to do?” asked  KYB.“I want you to write about it to see if we can stop Phebe from closing.”That same weekend Mr. Best traveled to Phebe in Suacoco, interviewed the Lutherans in charge of Phebe, who confirmed the imminent closure, met the Hospital Board that was meeting that Saturday morning, then toured the entire facility, including all the infrastructure. The result was two major stories the following week—on Tuesday and Thursday, published in the Liberian Star, a daily, and the bi-weekly Liberian Age. On seeing the stories, President William R. Tolbert summoned his Health Minister, Counselor Oliver Bright, who confirmed to him Phebe’s imminent closure, because the Lutherans said they had no more money to keep the hospital open. “How much does it cost to run Phebe annually,” President Tolbert enquired.“US$400,000, Mr. President, according to Mr. Best,” Minister Bright replied.President Tolbert immediately dictated a letter to his younger brother, Finance Minister Steve Tolbert, directing him to provide US$400,000 annually to keep Phebe Hospital open.Dr. Gwenigale took over Phebe immediately and ran it successfully for over 30 years, even through the war years.  It was this enviable legacy that led President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to appoint him her Health Minister for most of her tenure.We appeal to President George Weah to repeat history by doing for Phebe what President Tolbert did for this critical medical institution on which millions of our rural people as well as travelers up country depend for their health, medical and even emergency needs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rice milling company blasts GRDB’s “no outbreak” report

first_imgCorentyne rice infestation…says over 3000 acres infestedNand Persaud and Company Limited has blasted the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for saying that there has been no outbreak of the worm associated with the water weevil on the Corentyne.Following a report carried by Guyana Times that rice farmers on the Corentyne are experiencing strange growth and pests in their fields, as some rice is being attacked by worms and flies, the GRDB said that it was not true.According to the GRDB, a visit to the area revealed that there is no outbreak of the worm associated with the water weevil as reported. The State rice entity statedFrustrated Alan Goolcharran of Number 52 Villagethat the pest was only found in one farmer’s field in the area.However, Nand Persaud and Company Limited, one of the largest rice mills in Berbice, on Tuesday said the presence of the pest was characterised by stunted plant growth and yellowing of leaves. These signs often cause confusion among rice farmers who mistakenly believe that there is a nutrient deficiency problem.“Several farmers contacted Nand Persaud and Company Limited on the infestation issue and have benefited from intense investigative field visits and follow-up plans conducted by their agronomist. This has resulted from significant recoveries made from the fields treated and arduous efforts are currently in progress to bring the pest infestation under control,” the rice milling company said.When this publication first published the article, one farmer stated that he was advised by the GRDB to use Matador to control the worms which were found on the roots of the rice plants.In its release dated March 9, the GRDB listed seven chemicals, including Matador, to be used to deal with the pest.However, Nand Persaud and Company Limited has strongly objected to this. According to the company, the rice farmers should not utilise the pesticide Matador for the treatment of this pest or paddy bugs since it has been found to escalate the problem.“The Plant Hopper is known to transmit a virus called Hoja Blanca which can result in 25-50 per cent loss in yield if the problem is not identified and treated early. The Extension Department of Nand Persaud wishes to extend its continuous support to farmers in the fight against this potentially dangerous pest,” the milling company said. One farmer who Nand Persaud highlighted, Alan Goolcharran, of Number 52 Village, Corentyne, whose cultivation comprise approximately 40 acres of rice, is likely to lose more than 20 per cent in yield if the situation is not brought under control.Recently, brightly coloured leaves were observed on some of the paddy plants.According to some farmers, their fields have experienced stunted growth over the past month. One of the affected farmers is former Rice Producers Association (RPA) Extension Officer Ramlakhan Singh, who farms at Number 56 Village.He explained that they have been investigating and it was some of the labourers who made the startling discovery: strange worms at the root of the plants.But there is a second problem – one that is more complicated affecting the rice. Large-scale infestation of what appears to be flies has been seen by some rice farmers. There were a similar attack two crops ago and rice production was low in the affected areas. Following the publication of the GRBD’s release, some Corentyne rice farmers exposed the poor service being offered to Corentyne rice farmers by GRDB’s extension officers. They claimed that three weeks ago, reports were made to the GRDB about the infestation and the officer engaged a few farmers afterward and provided advice. Those farmers say the extension officer might have been in trouble had the team visited the affected farms.“They advised a few farmers and the team went to those farms and so they would not find any worms because the officers told the farmers what to do…” (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more