-To provide services for SGBV survivors

The management of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Medical Center Tuesday, December 12, 2023, joined several local and international partners at the official handover ceremony of the newly renovated and refurbished “One Stop Center” at the Liberia Japanese Friendship Maternity Center/JFK Medical Center.  

The “One Stop Center” is intended to provide medical services for the survival of rape and other forms of sexual gender-based violence offenses that are perpetrated against Women and Children. Some services to be provided at the facility include; Medical Examination and treatment,  Psychological (counseling),  Referral, and short-stay. 

Addressing officials of government and international guests attending the handover ceremony today, the Chief Medical Officer of the JFK Medical Center, Dr. Sia Wata Camanor extends thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, UNFPA, Swedish Embassy, and the Ministry of Health for making the One Stop Center available for victims and survivors of Sexual Gender-Based Violence in Liberia.

“We would like to test specimens as fresh as the situation happens to the victims and survivors” at the One Stop Center here at the JFK Medical Center.

Speaking at today’s ceremony, Ms. Alice Howard, Deputy Minister of Gender thanked the administration of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center for the efforts made to solicit funds from various international partners such as UNFPA, the Swedish Embassy, and the European Union for making the “One Stop Center” a dream come true at JFK Medical Center.

“We’ve had a lot of victims and survivors of SGBV being transferred from all the counties to Monrovia”, Ms. Howard noted.

Meanwhile, during the official handover of the OSC to Gol Madam Bidisha Pillai, the UNFPA Country Representative described the incident that occurred recently at the Red-light market as a horrific, disturbing, and gross violation of women’s rights in Liberia.

“On behalf of UNFPA I would like to do the official handover of the OSC with a special thanks to the European Union and other international partners for making this day a success”, Madam Pillai said addressing the delegation. She also said in recent times there has been a wave of violence where women have been abused and contracted infections such as STIs including HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancy. “The medical aspects of Sexual Gender- Based Violence depend on the medical care given to victims including survivors”, she retorted.

The John F. Kennedy Medical Center has become a major hub for medical care as well as Justice, madam Paillai continues to stress the need to use the DNA machine to catch would-be perpetrators of SGBV in and around Liberia.

However, the Minister of Health Republic of Liberia, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah also expressed many thanks and appreciation to UNFPA including the Swedish Embassy and the European Union Special Representative to Liberia for their tremendous efforts in making the OSC in JFK a success.

“You the perpetrators of these crimes must stop immediately”, Dr. Jallah warned against persons committing the acts of SGBV in Liberia.

Speaking on behalf of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, the Chief Executive Officer of JFK Dr. Jerry F. Brown said when he assumed official duties 5 years ago, he observed that cases of SGBV were being sent to other facilities for testing before being brought back to JFK for final scrutiny.

He said on one occasion, he had to engage the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah about the opening of an OSC at the JFK Medical Center. “This is a dream come true”, the CEO exclaimed.

Therefore, giving the vote of thanks at the Liberia Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital, Plan Liberia International Country Director Ms.  Miriam Murray said other countries in the sub-region want this opportunity given to us today in Liberia.

She also urged the incoming UP-led government to “come down hard” on perpetrators of SGBV crimes in the country after being sworn in office in January 2024.

The project was funded by the European Union,  through the SPOTLIGHT initiatives.