A group of Concerned Citizens of Tappita (CCT) has alarmed at the disappearances and removal of sensitive medical equipment and other materials from the Jackson Fiah Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita by some individuals under the canopy of the Ministry of Health.
The Concerned Citizens Group also called on the government to constitute and strengthen the JFD Regional Referral Memorial Hospital`s Board of Directors and launch an investigation into issues surrounding disappearances of medical and electronic equipment and alleged financial improprieties at the facilities.
The group of Concerned Citizens also called on the 54th Legislature to invite/summon the Minister of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, along with the management of JFD before open plenary to among other things, to explain why they are in the habit of transferring major life-saving equipment belonging to JFD to other health facilities, and the continuous shortage of essential drugs at the hospital despite the government’s announcement of the arrival of surplus pharmaceutical medicines in the country.
Signed Mark B. Newa, Acting Communications Lead, and approved by Sam Biago, Acting Chairman, Concerned Citizens of Tappita, the concerned citizens’ statement further called on government through An Act of Legislature to grant an autonomous status to JFD Hospital, adding that the government should also authorized an independent forensic audit of the hospital from the time of its inception back in 2010 to 2019.
Dedicated in 2010 by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as part of her campaign promise to the people of Tappita, the medical facilities were constructed by the People`s Republic of China to meet the health needs of the surrounding population, including those residing in Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Maryland and Grand Kru counties.
Sadly, on Thursday, August 1, 2019, the concerned citizens said a group of individuals on a chartered helicopter had gone to the hospital in Tappita to remove the neurosurgical equipment, the only brain surgical machine in the country to lend same to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
During a talk-show on state radio on Monday, August 5, 2019, the Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia and Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh confirmed a number of missteps in the earlier removal of the CT-scan machine and recent failed attempt to remove the neurosurgical machine.
Dr. Kateh also acknowledged that the Jackson F. Doe Hospital does not have a functional board of directors. We find this unacceptable, the concerned citizens said. .
The maintained that it is also been brought to our attention, the alleged disappearances of electronic equipment including television screens, air-conditioners, wall fans and clocks, other surgical equipment, just to name a few, that are intended to provide conducive working environment for workers and patients alike that are removed under the pretense of repair and maintenance.
“Let it not be misconstrued that the people of Nimba County, especially our parents and siblings are insensitive to the needs of other Liberians,” the statement said.
The concerned citizens’ statement continued that their hospitality goes beyond bounds, evidenced by their relationship with all of the ethnic groups and foreigners residing and plying their trades in the county.
“We are not interested in denying other Liberians the opportunity to access healthcare delivery, but we want the right things to be done,” the statement said, saying, “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.”
According to them, the people of Tappita, yea Nimba County deserve respect even in the face of neglect and abandonment. “Please note here that the people of Tappita are not dummies to be treated by officials of the Ministry of Health in such a demeaning way.”
In their statement, they said they also received reports that materials, including medical supplies for JFD Hospital from the Kole-Bu Foundation, purchaser of the neurosurgical equipment, were allegedly stolen by some unscrupulous individuals from the hospital administrative circle for selfish gains at the detriment of patients and the local population. “We have also been told that the sewer system at the hospital has been disconnected by the Director of Plumbing upon the order of higher ups from Monrovia,” the asserted.
“This, according to our source, has led to the pollution of the hospital and its surroundings. If this is true, we, in the strongest term, condemn such mischievous act and call for the immediate repair of the sewer system to contain the foul smell and pollution, the Concerned Citizens said.