Health Ministry Intimidates CHO’s
District Medical Officers (DMO’s) in Government Hospitals are reportedly intimidating Community Health Officers (CHO’s) who are on strike for not being recognized by Government.
According to the Sierra Leone Association of Community Health Officers (SLACHO) their members are being unnecessarily transferred from one Peripherals Health Unit (PHU) to another so that their attention will be diverted from their nationwide sit down strike action.
In a letter by the Bonthe District Medical Officer (DMO), Mr. Samuel PE Massaquoi titled “Posting of PHU Staff” reads; “It has pleased the District Medical Officer to announce the posting of one of the District Health Management Team (DHMT) to Torma Bum CHP. It added: “However, all DHMT Zonal Supervisors, Chiefdom Supervisors and Health Committee Chairman are kindly encouraged to facilitate all necessary handing over to all newly posted staff within the shortest possible time”.
What is most disheartening, according to the Executive of SLACHOS, is that despite the letter was copied to various stakeholders including the Minister of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah, the Chief Health Officer, Health Committee Chairman, Section Chiefs and Town Chiefs, the DMO did not copy it to the Chief Health Officer, Abu Conteh at the Government Central Medical Store. They described the DMO’s action as a demonstration of blatant disregard to their head.
The Executive body alleged that their offices were inundated with phone calls by colleagues from various PHU’s complaining of harassment and intimidation by some health authorities adding that they have resolved to come up with a press release warning all DMO’s to desist from marginalizing their members and to encouraged them to exercise patience and continue with their strike action until the Government does the right thing.
It could be recalled that the nationwide strike action of the CHO’s started on Sunday 10th September 2017 to urge Government and MOHS to legalize their profession by enacting the CHO Bill in to law. They suggested that a special body should be establish to expedite negotiations between SLACHO and MOHS.
Sierra Express Media gathered that prior to the ongoing nationwide strike action, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah had pronounced that he would persuade President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma not to sign the CHO Bill that was overwhelmingly endorsed by Parliament early this year.
If the CHO Bill is not signed by the President, a concerned senior health worker asserts, it would jeopardized the future of thousands of CHO’s most of whom have worked voluntarily for more than three decades without licenses.
By Alhassan Bangura
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