Professor Dr. Alhassan Datti Mohammed from Kano, Nigeria training a JFK nurse anaesthetist on the new Universal Anaesthesia Machine (background) at JFK Hospital. A second machine will be placed at Redemption Hospital later this summer.

JFK Gets “New Pain-killer” Machine

By: 
By Alvin Worzi

The Gradian Health Systems has donated an anesthesia machine to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center to equip the institution during testing and surgical operations.
Anesthesia refers to the practice of administering medications either by injection or by inhalation (breathing in) that block the feeling of pain and other sensations, or that produces a deep state of unconsciousness and eliminates all sensations. This allows medical and surgical procedures to be done without causing undue distress or discomfort.
The donated machine requires no compressed gas or electricity while operating it, because it can be operated without oxygen using the air in the room. It delivers safe anesthesia in any other hospital, including rural setting.
“The donation of the anesthesia machine included setting-up of the machine and training of the health practitioners to offer required services of the machine as well as maintenance,” said Minister of Gender Julia Ducan Cassell who, along with Dr. Edward McClain, received the machine on behalf the Government of Liberia.
She said the coming of the machine at J.F.K. will save many lives and decrease the alarming mortality rate for which the government remains overwhelmed in working with all partners in building a resilient health sector.
Madam Duncan-Cassell explained that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had also asked the Gradian Health Systems to help the government in providing additional medical equipment to the Redemption Hospital.
Meanwhile, Gradian Health Systems has accepted to provide the requested equipment in the not too distant future.
“We have a kind of machine that works in any part of the country without electricity. Therefore, we want to inform the public that health delivery services at JFK is getting better. And for that, we call on our women and children to take advantage of the better health services by regularly visiting the hospital to receive the best of treatment,” Minister Duncan Cassell stated.
For his part, JFK Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Billy Johnson, said the machine will improve services at the hospital because it allows safe and effective anesthesia during medical procedures.
He hailed Gradian Health Systems for their willingness to train Liberians to operate and maintain the machine.
He added that the coming of the equipment will greatly buttress government’s efforts to help build a vibrant health system.
The machine, according to Dr. Johnson, it will be used for adults and children with all kinds of surgical cases.
This cost-effective machine is used at major health facilities to put patients to sleep for surgery. The Universal Anesthesia Machine (UAM), as it is called, is the first of its kind in Liberia.
Dr. Johnson lauded President Sirleaf and Minister Cassell for their respective roles played in ensuring that Liberia gets her first anesthesia machine in long time.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gradian Health Systems, Stephen M. Rudy, said the anesthesia machine delivers world-class anesthesia care in any hospital, despite unreliable electricity and shortages of compressed medical gases in any given environment.
He explained that the Gradian Health Systems also trains health practitioners, who provide anesthesia services, and spare parts for the machine after being delivered.
“There are classes of surgery that required an anesthesia machine, because in the absence of it, the surgery would not be performed well. These include emergency trauma from road accidents, which required anesthesia to properly treat accident victims,” he said.
It is important to improve access to safe surgery and preoperative care in low-resource settings by providing technology service and training to strengthen anesthesia capabilities, which remain cardinal to all health institutions, including Liberia.
“Gradian Health Systems equips hospitals around the world to deliver anesthesia safely and economically,” he explained. “The machine is being used in Europe, Africa and Asia delivering general anesthesia in a wide variety of environments on patients of any age.”
The unique combination of continuous flow and draw-over anesthesia, Mr. Rudy said, qualifies it for use in facilities from world-renowned hospitals to resource-constrained district hospitals in low-income countries.
The machine is accordingly serviced through the provision of spare parts by courier shipment and regional service providers. The oxygen monitor continuously displays inspired oxygen content. The oxygen monitor lasts up to ten hours on battery backup during power outages. The ventilator offers alarms for disconnect, high pressure, and other conditions.
Mr. Rudy observed that the JFK has light, power, oxygen and those are the things that an anesthesia machine needs, but in the absence of them, the machine can still work. The supply of oxygen can change at any time, but the anesthesia machine helps to improve all surgical needs of any hospital.
He said his institution is a non-profit social enterprise collaborating with partners in clinical medicine, national health systems, medical technology and philanthropy.

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