Liberia: Citizens Urge Probe into Alleged Financial Improprieties, Missing Medical Equipment at Jackson F. Doe Hospital
Monrovia – A group under the banner Concerned Citizens of Tappita District has petitioned the government to launch an investigation into alleged financial malpractice and disappearance of medical and electronic equipment from the Jackson F. Doe (JFD) Referral Hospital in Nimba County.
In a release issued on Tuesday, August 5, the group noted that although it is sensitive to the health needs of other Liberians, the removal of valued equipment from JFD to other health facilities should be done through the rightful procedures.
The group’s call comes in the wake of staunch resistant by residents of Tappita over the transfer of neurosurgical equipment from the Jackson F. Doe Hospital to the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Memorial Hospital in Monrovia.
Earlier, one of the hospital’s CT scan machines was transferred to Phebe Hospital with an agreement to return it but the machine has not been returned.
Appearing on a live radio broadcast on state radio ELBC, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Liberia Dr. Frnacis N. Kateh admitted that there were missteps in the flow of information over the process to transfer the neurosurgical machine to JFK.
He, however, said the process was done in good faith and with the intention to return it and said measures are being put in place to avoid the recurrence of the situation.
He also acknowledged that the hospital lacks a functional board of directors but revealed that plans are underway to reconstitute the hospital board.
The group, in the release, stated that it is unacceptable for a renowned referral hospital to be managed without a board of directors.
“The missteps in the flow of communication as alluded to by the Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia are a clear manifestation that things are not being done in the right direction,” said the group in the release signed by Sam Biago and Mark B. Newa, who are Acting Chairman and Communications Lead of the group.
“The people of Tappita, yea Nimba County deserve respect even in the face of neglect and abandonment. Please note that the people of Tappita are not dummies to be treated by officials of the Ministry of Health in such a demeaning way.”
The group has also called the government to “constitute and strengthen the JFD Regional Referral Memorial Hospital`s board of directors andlaunch an investigation into issues surrounding disappearances of medical and electronic equipment and alleged financial improprieties at the facilities.”
The group is calling on the 54th Legislature to summon the Minister of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia along with the management of JFD to explain why major life-saving equipment is being taken from JFD to other health facilities.
The group also wants the Ministry of Health’s officials to address the continuous shortage of essential drugs at the hospital despite the government’s announcement of the arrival of surplus pharmaceutical medicines in the country.
In addition, the group petitioned the government to give JFD an autonomous status through an act of Legislature and also conduct an independent forensic audit of the hospital from the time of its inception back in 2010 to 2019.
Dedicated in 2010 by the then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as part of her campaign promise to the people of Tappita, the Hospital was constructed by the People`s Republic of China to meet the health needs of the surrounding population, including those residing in the southeastern region of the country – Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Maryland and Grand Kru Counties.