Liberia’s Ruling Party Senatorial Aspirant To Use Health System For Political Advantage
Monrovia – The Congress for Democratic (CDC) choice for the Montserrado County senatorial by-election has voiced the governing party’s plan to use the health delivery system as means of edging its opponent and putting its grip on power.
Report by Willie N. Tokpa, [email protected]
Saah Joseph, now Representative of Montserrado County’s District 13, recently said that the CDC-led government would not allow the health sector to remain in shambles to avoid criticisms from the opposition community.
“The Coalition for Democratic Change, which I am a part of, used the health sector to defeat the Unity Party-led government. We will not sit here for anyone to come here and defeat us using this same health sector. We are clear and we want to see changes in the health sector,” Representative Joseph said.
He said it would be wrong for the ruling party to be criticized for the inefficiency of the health care system after the CDC had used the sector as “propaganda machinery during the 2017 elections to oust the Unity Party”.
The man favored by the ruling party for the senatorial seat said the government has a plan to bring changes to Liberia’s health sector in six months.
He is also hopeful that officials of government will have no reasons to travel out of Liberia for medical treatment in the next one year, after the government revamps the health sector.
Liberia’s health sector has struggled over the last 12 years, and the Ebola outbreak exposed its weaknesses, prompting need for a robust revamp of the sector.
“Because of that, we have been playing all necessary role to bring changes in the health sector,” Joseph said.
The recast budget for the John F. Kennedy is US$500,000 for the next three months, although there are compounded challenges already facing the hospital.
Phebe Hospital in Bong County is also experiencing constraints, while several hospitals in Nimba County are currently complaining about lack of drugs.
In a wake of poor health delivery already faced by the Liberian health sector due to lack of equipment and drugs amongst other challenges, the Weah-led administration has broken ground for the construction of the 14th Military Hospital.
Some observers say it’s a misstep to spend huge funds on the construction of a new hospital while existing major public health centers lack basic facilities and medication.
But Representative Joseph said the health sector is an integral sector earmarked by the Weah’s administration to create a change in Liberia, adding that would be a priority.
He said President Weah is soliciting 150 containers of medical equipment from the United States.
He wants Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah send a team to Atlanta, Georgia in the USA to select necessary containers that are best suited for the improvement of Liberia’s health sector.
“The good news is that the President, Ambassador George Manneh Weah was able to solicit 150 containers of medical equipment and all that is needed is the shipping. With that I can tell you we will meet our promises made during the days of campaign,” Representative Joseph averred.
“I have taken the lead personally, by asking the representative of the organizations that donated those equipment to come to Liberia, I have already purchased their tickets and they will first of all have tour of all the health sectors and see what we need.”
He added that negotiations have already been made for these partners to provide manpower to install the equipment as well as conduct trainings for health workers.
Meanwhile, Representative Joseph said instead of lawmakers fighting administrators at the Ministry of health, it would be important to help find possible solutions to critical health problems in Liberia.