It is no more a secret that the grand plan by some doctors attached to the Connaught Hospital that have drawn in other medical colleagues at the PCMH and pupil doctors is to pressurize President Ernest Bai Koroma to kick out the Minister of Health and Sanitation from office. This action is not geared towards the improvement of the medical services in the country, but personal and how they can continue dipping deep their hands into the Cost Recovery Drugs and other medical programmes that they have been recklessly exploiting over the years. While reforms put in place by the new management of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to promote the aspiration of the government in the health sector, some medical practitioners who have been benefitting from the loopholes have become disillusioned and uncomfortable if the reforms are allowed to grow.

The International Labour Laws require 21-day notice prior to any strike action. In some countries the laws are different, but following international protocols, it is evidently clear that the 21-day notice is the official requirement observed for any industrial action. Unfortunately, this crop of medical practitioners who have perceived the current Minister of Health and Sanitation as the obstacle to their unprofessional practices of demanding money to save lives and dipping their hands into project monies with disrespect have chose to neglect the 21-day labour regulation and have reportedly down tools, until Ms. Miatta Kargbo is kicked out of office.

It would be recalled that Haja (Mrs.) Zainab Bangura, former Minister of Health and Sanitation suffered similar uncalled for behavior from doctors in Sierra Leone, whenever she took tough stance on issues that are related to the wellbeing and welfare of ordinary patients. It may not be a surprise to many Sierra Leoneans seeing similar threat and behavior coming from some members of the same professional group.

The assumption is that Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma can easily be put under control when pressure is mounted on him by any group, therefore if action of such nature is adopted by the medical doctors he would succumb to it and take a decision in their favour. Based on this assumption, the 21-day strike notice was abandoned and signatures of colleagues who are not in the country forged to give an indication that the decision was unanimous.

According to investigation conducted by this medium, the leader of the group is Dr. Robert, the adopted son of the former Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. K.S Dao who was implicated in the GAVI Fund, charged to Court by the Anti Corruption Commission, but freed on grounds comfortable to the Presiding Judge.

It is apparent that the GAVI scandal is rolling on and those medical practitioners close to the former accused persons are using their profession to hold the Government and State to ransom, claiming that the current Minister of Health and Sanitation is disrespecting them.

It is not only a shame to the medical profession in the country, but a dis-service and disrespect to the Hippocratic Oath they took to save lives, especially when the death rate at the Princes Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) continues to rise instead of taking a downward trend every succeeding month due to medical malpractices of some of the professionals. Last November 2013, Dr. Gamanga of the PCMH and a trained and qualified SECH Nurse reportedly had a fight, which was as a result of professional malpractice perpetuated by the doctor. Report states that a pregnant patient went to the hospital and needed a service, which she expected to be free based on the doctrine of the Free Health Care Programme. The SECH Nurse is a relative of the pregnant patient and when she called on Dr. Gamanga to treat the patient, his reply was “the patient should register and pay a registration fee of Le50,000(Fifty Thousand Leones)”. Knowing that this is not the condition of the programme, the SECH Nurse insisted that the patient should be treated without paying the Le50,000 (Fifty Thousand Leones) fee demanded. The stance of the nurse infuriated Dr. Gamanga, which made him to release a slap on her. Hell let loose and in return, she grabbed Dr. Gamanga and started to scream and shout, which attracted other workers of the hospital. They were separated and the matter was reported to the Medical and Dental Service. It will surprise the reading public to learn that the Medical and Dental Service has refused to come out with any findings till date.

This is just one, out of many professional malpractices perpetuated by some medical practitioners who are talking about unprofessional behavior of the Minister of Health and Sanitation. Another case of medical malpractice was reported in yesterday’s edition which took place at the Connaught Hospital involving Dr. Murray.

A relaxation of the reforms to upgrade the health sector will put the minds of some of these medical practitioners at ease to continue their plundering of project monies and recently the alarming discovery of the Cost Recovery Drugs.

The fraudulent practice by some doctors to become drug sellers to patients and condemning drugs provided by Government under the Cost Recovery Programme has  been forestall by the current Minister of Health and Sanitation. Instead of patients buying drugs at the Cost Recovery, some of the doctors are taking the same drugs from their pharmacies and sell to patients and claimed that the Cost Recovery Drugs are not effective. This has been the practice by some of them over the years, which has recorded low revenue generation for Government. Recently, after a careful study by a team set up by the Minister, it was discovered that if mechanisms are not put in place Government will be the biggest loser.

The Minister reportedly requested assistance from the United Nations to monitor sales and distribution of the drugs that had been condemned by the doctors. This effort is now paying good dividend to both the Ministry and the Government. Some of the doctors have viewed the reform of the Minister as a threat and challenge to their profession and the continuation of it means big revenue loss for them. Calculating the loss over the benefit and realizing that the loss if continued will outweigh the benefit, the plan to get rid of Minister Miatta Kargbo becomes the available option, which can be achieved by mounting pressure on President Koroma and allegations levied against the Minister. Up to the time of going to press, the doctors have learnt that receipts that would be issued out in the not too distant future to patients at the various hospitals will be printed by UNICEF and not by any private contractor again. Now that the new measures relating to the Cost Recovery Drugs at the Connaught Hospital has proved workable, it will soon be replicated to other hospitals in the country, which means disaster for doctors.

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