Uneasy calm at Health Ministry!
Beneath the apparent peaceful atmosphere prevailing at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, there is a heavy current of unease and anxiety among staff, said to have been triggered by the strained relationship between the Minister, Dr Austin Demby, and the Chief Medical Officer, Rev Dr Thomas T Samba, who has been sent on premature leave to retirement.
Speaking on public radio, Dr Demby accused the CMO of insubordination regarding postings of Doctors while the Minister was away in the US, which, according to the Minister, was against the spirit of an earlier consensus reached.
Sources say that the CMO had already made postings before the Minister returned to Freetown, much to the annoyance of the latter, who reported the matter to the Secretary to cabinet. Subsequently, the Secretary to cabinet informed the Secretary to President who advised that the CMO be sent on leave, barely one month before his retirement.
Unconfirmed sources at the Ministry state that being the elder sister of Dr Demby, Mrs Kona Koroma, an adviser to President, could have used her influence to send the CMO on premature retirement.
It is not clear whether Dr Samba acted on his discretion to perform his duties or received instructions from the two deputy ministers, Dr Sandi and Dr Amara Jambai, who had also served as CMO before his appointment as Deputy Minister II.
“Using State House influence to bully professionals does not augur well for team work within the ministry”, opined a Civil Servant.
“If the Minister does not have confidence in his professional staff and his deputies, he is heading for doom”, a staff nurse added.
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