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Health Minister Survives Palace Coup

Health Minister Survives Palace Coup

The calumnious attack on the person of the Minister of Health and Sanitation by the Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to President Ernest Bai Koroma after the former was summoned by Parliament on 17th June, 2014, to brief the august body on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country has been described by many concerned citizens as a calculated ploy to not only destroy the good image of the Minister with apparent vindictiveness but to also distract her focus on fighting against the deadly disease by reducing her effort to mere pettiness.

In-depth investigations by The New Storm revealed that the vitriolic attack on Madam Miatta Kargbo (in photo) by Dr. Sylvia Blyden is a proxy battle for some senior officials in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, including her former collegiate chum who is the current the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, meant to destroy the reputation of the Minister so that she would be eventually removed and replaced by the Deputy Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah.

Reports are that both Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah were colleagues at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) and have now ganged up against Madam Miatta Kargbo by giving her negative publicity for her to be removed and replaced by the ‘faceless devil’ who is no less a person than the Deputy Minister.

According to a concerned senior citizen, who asked not to be named for his official position, “The dress code of the Health Minister which Dr. Sylvia Blyden is harping upon would pale into oblivion when you consider the threats which the Ebola virus has posed in our country as tens of Sierra Leoneans have been killed by the deadly disease.”

He maintained that Madam Miatta Kargbo’s dressing at the time had nothing to do with her performance in Parliament but Dr. Sylvia Blyden took it as an issue because of mischief.

The concerned senior citizen described the story “Ms. Miatta Kargbo Mocks dead Nurse to be Promiscuous” in the 17th June edition of the Awareness Times newspaper as “hogwash and complete mockery to the deceased nurse and family” instead focusing on Ebola which is the most topical issue and concern of every Sierra Leonean. The concerned senior citizens said despite the criticism of the Health Minister’s dress code by Dr. Sylvia Blyden, parliamentarians never queried her dress code; but rather, they were moved by the presentation Madam Miatta Kargbo made on the Ebola virus.

Sources close to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation described Miatta Kargbo as a very competent and responsible Minister in the formulation of government policy, monitoring and evaluation of projects undertaken the Ministry as well as ensuring that funds are always available for the day-to-day administration of the Ministry.

A senior staff of the Health Ministry disclosed that in the implementation of the Ministry’s activities, there are technical and professional staffs that are charged with such responsibilities, noting that the Minister’s role is not to go out in the field to implement projects such as the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease which has claimed the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans in Kailahun District.

The staff disclosed that there are various divisions in the Health Ministry that are headed by professionals charged with responsibilities following the outbreak of the Ebola virus and funds were doled out to them to carry out such responsibilities, adding that all the Minister needs is comprehensive report from the various heads which she would compile as a report for the consumption of government, donors and other development partners.

The New Storm gathered that Le100 million was disbursed to the President of Nursing Association, Madam Houssanatu. Kanu for the training of nurses nationwide but most nurses were left untrained. Another whooping Le350 million was reported disbursed to the president for further training but most of the nurses cried foul when they were not supplied protective gears to handle Ebola cases.

A senior official in the Health Ministry informed that it is the responsibility of the President of the Nursing Association to have data indicating how many nurses are there nationwide so that the Minister would know their numerical strength in order to determine their felt needs and place in a requisition to enable her savage their plight.

The Chief Medical Office (CMO), Dr. Brima Kargbo, and other professional heads have reportedly received hundreds of millions of Leones from government through the Health Ministry for sensitization on the deadly Ebola outbreak though they are reported bent on putting spanner in the good work of Madam Miatta Kargbo.

The CMO and other senior officers in the Health Ministry are reported undermining the authority of the Minister.

According to competent sources, a team of professionals led by Dr. Brima Kargbo last Friday met President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House and raised concern over the shortage of protective gears for health workers without the consent of the Minister.

“This clearly indicated that because of the Minister’s financial prudence, probity and putting the records straight, they are bent on destroying her political career,” a senior health worker fumed.   He maintained that Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s mudslinging against madam Miatta Kargbo following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus is not in the best interest of the country but a calculated ploy to remove her from office and catapult her Deputy to the position for selfish reasons.

It could be recalled that on Monday 23rd June, Dr. Sylvia Blyden was on the popular “Radio Talk Show” on FM 98.8 where she publicly established her notoriety for calumniously attacking the Health Minister because one of the Ministry’s Director of Communication Unit,  Sidi Yayah Tunis, had challenged and attacked the publisher for the unfortunate comments she had published in her newspaper on the Ebola outbreak, how to curtail the spread of the disease and to control the death toll of Sierra Leoneans by the disease.

The Director of Communication Unit had also retorted that it was purely in the interest of the people of Kissy Teng that on the return of the Minister, who was on official assignment, she issued out a news release debunking the commentary of Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

Many people wondered that instead of the publisher attacking the Director of Communication in the Health Ministry, she attacked and ridiculed the Minister who had little or no knowledge about Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s confrontation with Sidi Yayah Tunis.

The New Storm learnt that since the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus early this year, the government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has disbursed over Le1.9 billion to the Health Ministry to help political parties, parliamentarians, market women, bike riders and a host of other stakeholders in the country to fight against the deadly disease.

Why should any well-meaning citizen criticize the Health Minister for inefficiency when she is not responsible for the implementation of the project?” a concerned worker queried.

See subsequent stories on how funds for the fight against Ebola virus have been swindled by Directors of the Health Ministry in the guise of sensitization.

By Hamed B. Kanneh

Hamed B. Kanneh is a journalist, CEO and Proprietor-New Storm Newspaper Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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