ACC urges health workers in Kabala to be sincere in the implementation of the free health care
The Regional Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), North has appealed to health workers in Koinadugu District to be fair, honest and sincere in implementing the Free Health Care programme. (Photo: Cross section of the audience)
Speaking at a town hall meeting on Free Health Care (FHC) issues at the Kabala Community Centre on Monday 24th September 2012, Mr. Patrick Sandi recognized the importance of health practitioners and their crucial roles in ensuring the success of the Free Health Care programme in the district. He said ACC’s intervention in the health sector was to enhance transparency and ensure the realization of the social needs of the people. The Regional Manager emphasized that one of the things that would hinder the FHC process was corruption that was why the ACC is making series of interventions in the areas of education and prevention. He warned medical practitioners not to solicit bribes from patients for provision of FHC services and urged those in charge of drugs to dispense them transparently.
The Regional Manager informed cross section of FHC beneficiaries about their role in ensuring the success of the programme. He appealed to them to exhibit the right attitude and approach in accessing the health facilities. “Let us all continue in our resolve to ensure that the FHC programme succeed. It is only when we are together that we can succeed” he noted. Manager Sandi disclosed that the ACC is looking seriously at corruption issues bothering on the health sector. He used the occasion to explain some of the offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act that have bearing with the work as medical practitioner and penalties.
Explaining the purpose of the meeting, ACC District Coordinator, Koinadugu Mr. Augustine Ngobie said it was meant to educate health service providers and beneficiaries on how corrupt practices can hinder the progress and success of the FHC. He noted that ACC’s mandate goes beyond investigating and prosecuting corrupt individuals but also raise public awareness on the dangers of corruption and put in place preventive methods. He furthered that the meeting was also to solicit the support of health workers and beneficiaries towards the Commission in fighting corruption in the FHC programme. The Koinadugu District Coordinator informed the gathering that ACC alone cannot succeed in fighting corruption in the medical sector without their support.
In her statement, Sister Esther K. Jabbie of the Kabala Government Hospital highlighted major successes of the FHC programme in the district among which are increase in access to health facilities and drop in maternal and infant mortality. She made mention of the challenges they are facing towards the implementation of the programme, such as frequent shortage of drugs in the health facilities, misuse of drugs by patients, shortage of health technical staff, welfare of nurses and insufficient community and stakeholders participation. Sister Jabbie expressed their determination to meet the health needs of the communities but noted that until they get the cooperation of patients, the FHC programme will continue to face numerous challenges. Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr. Hassan Kanu, Community Health Officer on behalf of the PHUs in the district.
Representing the Health Committee, Koinadugu District Council, Mr. Eric H. Tommy said they have been involved in the verification of FHC drugs in terms of quality and quantity, monitoring and supervision, distribution of drugs and rehabilitation and construction of PHUs with support from donor partners.
Speaking on behalf of the Paramount Chief of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom, Mr. Mohamed Sesay, Town Chief said they as traditional rulers appreciated the FHC programme which has brought lots of improvement on the lives of their people. He appreciated the efforts of the health workers in Koinadugu District in addressing the health needs of the people. Chief Mohamed Sesay heaped praises on ACC for its intervention and appealed for continuous monitoring.
The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Kojo M. Marah, District Social Mobilization Coordinator, encouraged all present to ensure the success of the FHC programme for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans. He admitted that ACC cannot be everywhere at the same time and stressed the need for partnership.
ACC’s Public Education Officer Mr. Al-Hassan Sesay entreated all present to see the fight against corruption in the health sector as a collective responsibility which requires partnership. He reminded the health workers of their primary duty of saving lives and how corrupt practices can hinder the improvement of the FHC programme and the health service delivery system in the country. Mr. Sesay explained the various ways of making reports to ACC and urged them to resist, reject and report any acts of corruption to the Commission.
Other speakers included Yeabu Mansaray, District Coordinator, Health For All Coalition, Peter B. Konteh, Chairman Koinadugu District Council, Dr. A. A. Sandi, District Medical Officer and Fatmata Bah, one of the beneficiaries. Questions, comments and concerns from the audience formed part of the meeting.
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