Health Ministry Vows Stern Action Against Misuse of Health Vehicle
Last week, a FrontPageAfrica reporter was alerted by some community dwellers when an ambulance donated by Save the Children to the Ministry of Health marked to be used by the Montserrado County health team was seen in the Du-port Road community in Paynesville around the Kingdom Care Community transporting rocks and other personal materials to the home of an unidentified person.
The eyewitness who alerted FPA said the ambulance spent a long time transporting the rocks intended for personal use. The vehicle was seen offloading in a residential neighborhood where some community dwellers expressed dismay upon seeing rocks being removed from the vehicle. The Ministry has explained that the vehicle in question is not an ambulance but is used to transport drugs and other medical supplies in and around Montserrado as well as other counties.
Although the truck involved in the incident is not an ambulance, the Ministry has frowned on the alleged misuse of the vehicle and has disclosed that it has launched an internal probe to ascertain the employee involved in such act, promising to take stern action against the perpetrator. Sorbor George, Director of Communications, said ambulances and other medical vehicles are prime assets to the entity and cannot be allowed to be misused by any individual or employee outside of the official work of the Ministry.
“We know what Ebola did in this country and how we dearly needed ambulances and medical vehicles, so we cannot condone any misuse of these properties. Anyone caught in such habit will be dealt with accordingly”, said George. He disclosed that the Ministry has launched a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the story published in the Friday, March 18 edition of the FrontPage Newspaper and will take immediate action deter such practice.
According to him, officials of the Health Ministry including the Minister and her principal duties expressed shock over the report and are not taking it lightly. He said the Ministry has in place a fixed asset policy that guides the use of vehicles and other assets donated by partners and those purchased by the Government of Liberia.
The truck, which is currently parked in the compound of the Ministry in Congo Town, is now the subject of ongoing investigation into the reported transporting of personal effects. The vehicle is a heavy duty truck with space at the back for transporting heavy materials such as supplies. The Ministry has also indicated that none of the vehicles donated to the Ministry during the Ebola outbreak are missing, noting that all vehicles were coded and can be accounted for.
George said the report of misuse of the vehicle has been causing stir amongst many partners to the Ministry including donors who are concerned over such report, saying that all vehicles assigned to the ministry during the Ebola outbreak were fully accounted for. He assured that the Ministry cannot sit and allow such practice, asserting that donors should expect that any donation to the Ministry will be used for the intended purpose.
During the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, the lack of ambulances and other medical vehicles to carry patients to health care centers contributed to increase in the number of cases as sick people were forced to stay at home where they contaminated other family members.
The virus spread violently and was only brought under control when donors came to the rescue of the country with donations of vehicles, medical supplies and medical personnel. The sour memory of Ebola is still fresh on the minds of many Liberians especially the number of people that were directly affected by the deadly virus.