Major Hospital in Central Liberia Collapsing Due to Under Funding
Gbarnga, Bong County – Health officials in Bong County are still pondering how the referral hospital in the county – the C.B Dunbar – did not get any budgetary increment in the first pro-poor draft budget amid the colossal challenges facing the hospital.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Governing under the pro-poor policy as pronounced by President George M. Weah during his inauguration in January, many Liberians including citizens of Bong County thought that the CB Dunbar Hospital, which has been unable to provide basic health services to the population of Bong County, due to low budgetary support, was one of the entities about to be resuscitated under the pro-poor agenda led by President Weah and Vice Jewel H. Taylor, the later hailing from the county.
Since it was established by an Act of the National Legislature as a referral hospital, CB Dunbar is just a big facility with no major impact on the health of the population, as many prefer seeking treatments at smaller clinics rather than the hospital due to inadequate drugs and poor services, compounded by lack of financial and logistical support.
The hope that things might be a little better under the CDC-led government has been dashed as CB Dunbar has been treated in like manner as the previous 2017/18 National budget with no budgetary increment to the hospital.
During the 2017/2018 National budget, the facility was allotted the amount of two hundred thousand United States dollars (US$ 200,000) but according to the fiscal outrun, only US$124,473 was disbursed to the facility.
The figures from the fiscal outrun indicate that the Government of Liberia failed to live up to the budgetary allocation to the already minimum allotment to the hospital, slashing the amount of US$200,000 down to US$75,527.
The Phebe hospital is unable to cater to the growing number of patients in populated Bong County and as such the low budgetary support to CD Dunbar puts the population at high risk.
CB Dunbar vs Redemption Hospital
Comparing the budgetary allocation to the CB Dunbar hospital in the current draft 2018/19 fiscal budget, the hospital is far not below facility such as the Redemption Hospital located in New Kru Town, Monrovia.
During Fiscal Year 2017/2018 the Redemption Hospital was allotted two million United States dollars (US$2,000,000), but according to the fiscal outturn published by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning out of the US$2,000,000 budgetary allocation only US$1,244,726 was disbursed to the hospital.
In the current 2018/19 draft budget Redemption Hospital is allotted the amount of US$2,000,000 despite its location in Montserrado County, which has the largest referral hospital in the country, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
The budget of Redemption hospital is eight times larger than the budgetary allotment to another referral hospital, CB Dunbar.
Already the pro-poor government has been dubbed a “Southeastern administration” with more than 60 per cent of the senior positions in government awarded to people hailing from the South east, now the disparity between the Redemption Hospital located in community known as New Kru Town could be seen by many as the government paying more attention to Southeastern activities than other bigger counties.
Bong County is amongst the most populated counties in the country and the low budgetary support to the CB Dunbar is a huge blow to the health sector of the county.
It is also a slap in the face of Vice President Taylor who hails from the County and also Deputy Speaker Prince Moye.
The two are senior officials of the CDC-led government hailing from the same county and having the referral hospital in their county receiving such low budgetary allotment could make their electorates to believe that they are not working in their interest at the national level.
Many believe that since the current budget is a draft, both Vice President Taylor and Deputy Speaker Moye need to work harder to lobby with their colleagues at the National Legislature to see reason to increase the allotment to the CB Dunbar hospital to enable the facility provide basic services to the people of the county.