Liberia has been in our hearts for quite some time. I recall the day I received a call from Dr. Estrada Bernard, a neurosurgeon in Anchorage, Alaska. Born in Liberia, his father and aunt were members of parliament during the violent coup in the early 1990s. His father was in Ghana watching a soccer match and avoided execution, as was the fate of his parliamentary colleagues. His aunt, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, was considered a radical, as she spoke out against corruption and the government of the day. As a result, the coup leaders thought she would be of value and let her live. Eventually immigrating to America, Estrada became a neurosurgeon and his family returned to Liberia, committed to healing their land in this post civil war era.
So Estrada was overjoyed to learn of our existence and wondered if Liberia was on our radar screen. His timely visit to Vancouver three years ago, with Paul and Monica King and Lisa Cain, one weekend, created a bond that has only grown with time. Honestly, washing and drying dishes together after meals has very bonding element. So over the past year, in discussion with their leadership, we recognize that there is a deep passion from President Johnson-Sirleaf and her team to move health care forward and establish a national contemporary hospital. Their heart cry is to provide credible health care so that their nationals do not have to travel abroad or simply have no hope of even assessment nevertheless treatment. So KBNF is conducting a fact finding mission and neuro conference, visiting Monrovia, Liberia for five days as the guests of Mrs. Jennie Bernard “Aunty Jennie,” Estrada’s mother and JFK Board of Director, and Dr. Wvannie McDonald, CEO, JFK Memorial Hospital. We anticipate discussion on their need for a master site review, plan and program, and at their request, KBNF is providing them with the KBTH Master Plan and Program for review.