Monrovia - Redemption Hospital is one of government-ran facilities in one of the most populated and impoverished communities outside Monrovia on Bushrold Island.
“Patients can’t even have conscience to give us tip; when I was on the pediatrician ward, there was a Fula man who came with his child, but he could not give me a bribe because when I asked him, he pointed at the instruction on the wall.
So, I left him and was busy doing my other routines mainly attending to those who gave me money; but when he saw no one on the ward was paying attention he had to call me and I pointed him to the instruction he previously showed me” – An Anonymous Health Worker at Redemption Hospital
Services at this hospital are supposed to be totally free. The hospital has the bold inscription on one of its wall: “No Money Business, All Services Free of Charge including Check-up and Delivery Service.”
But the instruction on the wall isn’t abided by many health workers and others who work at the hospital.
Petty corruption in various forms is on the rise at the hospital in New Kru Town, FrontPage Africa Rate My Hospital has learned.
Series of investigations conducted by FrontPage Africa continues to unearth bribery, theft, favoritism, etc. in the public health sector.
At the Redemption Hospital, it was observed that a notice was placed at the front entrance of the hospital which revealed that a regular inspection would be done following multiple complaints of extortion from patients.
“As long as you come here and you don’t bring money you will stay long here because every table you reach you must pay a dime; don’t be a new patient each room you enter you will pay even the lab, pharmacy, weighing and everything, though it’s not compulsory but you should expect it,” Cecelia Tamba –a pregnant woman at Redemption Hospital lamented.
The Redemption Hospital’s Incidence Investigation Team further said that a visit would be done at all sections to ascertain the actuality of the prevailing situation and subsequently make a report to administration for appropriate action.
A health worker at the hospital, Richard Paye (not real name), admitted to FPA that the administration’s new mandate impedes their chances of getting tips and accepting bribes from patients.
“Every day Administration send people around telling patients not to give a dime to us, and now it is difficult to get something to transport us home, the incentive at first was US$80.00, at the time I wasn’t on payroll but now I’m on payroll and the incentive has reduced to US$30.00 so how we wouldn’t asked the patients when Government reneges on paying us,” Paye said.
Patients can’t even have conscience to give us tip; when I was on the pediatrician ward , there was a Fula man who came with his child but he could not give me a bribe because when I asked him, he pointed at the instruction on the wall, so I left him and was busy doing my other routines mainly attending to those who gave me money, but when he saw no one on the ward was paying attention [to him],he had to call me and I pointed to the instruction he previously showed me .”
Malpractice is seen as a pervasive problem in the country’s health sector, and it’s especially evident at the in-patient and out-patient facilities at hospitals and clinics. Overcrowding at hospitals with less number of doctors is compounding the problem.
Some patients visiting the hospital said personal connections were necessary to get a decent hospital service. Others said they had used personal connections to obtain admission and various hospital services, while the rest admitted to giving money and gifts to hospital staff to get fast track attention.
Sitting on a brown bench Cecelia Tamba and Marie Fallah, both pregnant, disclosed that they had given money to hospital attendants for extra care and attention.
“As long as you come here and you don’t bring money you will stay long here because every table you reach you must pay a dime, don’t be a new patient each room you enter you will pay; even the lab, pharmacy, weighing and everything, though it’s not compulsory, but you should expect it.”
For Wesseh Nimely, he had to pay staff to expedite the release of the bodies of deceased patients from the government hospital.
He said corruption could be controlled if punitive action was taken is taken against those engaged in it.
A worker of who asked for anonymity revealed that individuals who earn low income including those who came from rural areas found it difficult getting services at the hospital.
Crime and Safety report “OSAC” of the United State of Security 2015 on Liberia revealed that prior to the Ebola crisis, medical facilities were poorly equipped and staffed and generally incapable of providing even basic services.
The dismal level of medical services was been exacerbated by the Ebola outbreak. Medicines were scarce, and some were counterfeit and distributed beyond their expiration date.
Doctors, clinics, and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services and, in many cases, before rendering service.
On the Out Patient Department of the Redemption Hospital, there were only four bathrooms, two for females and two for men, but the female bathrooms were locked.
The open ones were very filthy, and trash bin filled beyond what it could hold.
On the delivery ward, Chlorox and powder soap were on sale. These were necessary for cleaning the bathroom before using it.
Irene Barnes, a new mother, disclosed that during her delivery there was no doctor on shift.
“You see me, I have been here for the past days today making me a week and my daughter hasn’t come to herself because when I came there was no doctor on shift and there were only nurse aids who had to calm me down before a doctor came,” she said.
She revealed that the beddings stayed on the bed for days before changing and they were fed once a day either with corn meal or rice.
The administration of the hospital couldn’t respond on grounds that they were in meeting the entire day.