Liberia: New Chief Medical Officer Takes Over, As Health Ministry Explains Appointment Controversy



Monrovia – The dust is still in the air over the controversial appointment of Dr. Siata Camanor as Chief Medical Officer of Liberia’s biggest referral hospital, yet the young doctor who is said to have been the least rated during the vetting process officially took office yesterday, FrontPageAfrica has learned.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

Dr. Camanor was appointed by President George Manneh Weah late August, but controversies surrounding blew up when document pertaining to the vetting process was posted to social media.

The document reveals that five persons – Doctors Benedict Kolee, Cuallau Jabbeh-Howe, Billy Johnson, Emmanuel K. Ekyinabah and Sia Wata Camanor were recently vetted for the position. Dr. Kolee, according to the vetting score sheet obtained by FrontPageAfrica was rated the highest with 93.8%. Dr. Jabbeh-Howe finished second with 77.3 percent, Dr. Johnson, 73.3 percent, Dr. Ekyinabah, 68.5 and Dr. Camanor, 57.7 percent.

At the end of the process, the name of Dr. Camanor, rated the least of the five, was reportedly forwarded to President Weah for appointment.

Controversy Explained

The Ministry of Health in a statement released late Monday evening, explained that the vetting process for the position of the Chief Medical Officer was characterized by conflict of interest and further violated Section 30.4 of the Procurement Act, which states that “No member of the Commission or a Procurement Committee shall serve on a Bid Evaluation Panel”.

According to the Ministry, Dr. Benedict Kolee, who was deemed by the vetting committee as the most qualified, having attained 563 points, did not meet the requirement to be shortlisted.

The advertisement for the said position advertised in March this year specified that the Chief Medical Officer must be a medical doctor with post graduate specialization and at least five years of experience in clinical practice. The candidate must have been head of a referral hospital or a medical faculty within a referral and teaching hospital.

Dr. Kolee’s reference named in his resume, according to the Ministry of Health, was a member of the vetting committee who presided over the interview, thereby, fueling conflict of interest.

The Health Ministry further insinuated that Dr. Kolee lied on his credentials by indicating that he was at the time the current Chief Medical Officer at the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tappita, however, there was absolutely no record at he served in that capacity at the hospital during the time of the interview.

FrontPageAfrica has not been able to independently verify this information.

The President’s Prerogative

The entire results from the vetting were nullified, according to the Ministry of Health. Such action was taken by the Minister in accordance with Section 39.3 of the Ministry of Health Act.

Having briefed the President, he elected to appoint Dr. Camanor to the position.

The Ministry noted it is the President’s prerogative to appoint whoever he wants in his capacity as the Grand Councilor of the Board of the JFK Medical Center.

Who Is Dr. Camanor?

Born in Voinjama in the late 70s, Dr. Camanor moved with her family to live Lesotho in 1988 and then South Africa where she earned undergraduate and post-graduate education at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

She returned to Liberia in 2011as a newly qualified Pediatrician. “My love for Liberia brought me home,” she told FrontPage Africa.

Prior to her latest appointment, she served as Consultant Pediatrician and actively served in the Department of Pediatrics at the JFK Medical Center since 2011. She’s also the Acting Head of Department, Pediatrics at the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia.

Dr. Camanor was the first Faculty Chair, Pediatrics, Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS) and currently serve as a Faculty Member. She was an Associate-Principle Investigator for the Prevail III Birth Cohort Sub-study.

Her role as Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Health Services will be to ensure that the clinical services in all departments at the JFK Medical Center are adequately staffed, well equipped and functioning satisfactorily. My vision is to make JFK Medical Center Liberia’s Premiere Teaching Hospital with quality, affordable and accessible healthcare for all Providing specialist care for persons that require the services and facilities of a specialized hospital.