19 September 2012

Liberia: 'Draconian Administrative Practices' At JFK? - Heavy-Handiness, Intimidation - Arbitrary Actions Order of the Day - but Management Says That's Far From Truth

Reports reaching this paper suggest that the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Liberia's largest and referral hospital is experiencing a type of administration that is viewed as draconian and dictatorial, to the extent that things are either getting bad off or are out control, but management the information is far from truth and reality as the hospital is not better off than it was few years back.

As it stands, according to sources close to the hospital, all of the good things that once made the hospital one of the best in West Africa when workers were allowed to congregate as association to express or air their views on seemingly wrong administrative practices, where they benefited from good insurance benefits and many others are things of the past as the new administration headed by Madam Wannie Scott McDonald as Chief Administrator appears to be pursuing and pushing a path so eccentric and somehow out of order.

For example, this paper has gathered that employees lack means to address their grievances as there are is worker association, and more over no insurance benefits for employees under the new administration, and that employees are not given ample room to perform their assigned duties as they are said to be subjected to continuous intimidation, and at times unwarranted arrest and detention.

Though the sources could not say whether any employees were behind bar at present on orders of the administration, it is alleged that management constantly calls in the police to apprehend employees whose actions are deemed offensive to the style of administration at hand.

In the wake of these alleged unwholesome and wide- of- the-mark administrative actions embarked upon by the Madam McDonald -led administration, employees are said to be working in extreme fear, something that is reportedly causing the hospital so dearly in terms of saving lives of patients.

One major problem that exists at the JFK, if the sources stand any iota of believability, is the lack of personnel department to account for the wellbeing of employees, coupled with exorbitant fees often charged relatives of dead ones, thus resulting to their inability to get the bodies out, leaving the administration with no alternative but to bury such bodies in mass after a given period of time.

According to sources, there is no cordial working relationship and that the general administrator is using Munah Tarpeh and Mary Howard Nyanquoi as spies on the workers, giving her information on a daily basis about what employees are doing or not.

However, the JFK management through its Media and Communication Specialist has thrashed such reports as the work of people whose dirty deals have been put on the prism, thereby making it hard for them to do some of the ugly things they did that scarred the hospital.

Daylue Goah, reacting to the allegations said "What I will say is all the allegations are untrue," and reminded the public of the status of the entity as hospital and not as political institution that suppose to be run in the media.

"First of all, I will like to tell the public that JFK was built as a hospital not as political institution. We don't intend the run the business of the hospital in the press, but for the sake of the record, I will like to say all the allegations are basically fabricated; they are untrue," he said with additional emphasis of the role of the hospital.

He reminded Liberians and those in the habit of vilifying the administration of the hospital that it was built for the sole intent to save lives, noting that doctors and other medical staff need to understand this and perform their duties in line with these objectives and reasons.

Goah acknowledged the existence of some challenges along the way but called on Liberians to understand considering the huge number of about 3,000 patients and others who flood the hospital on daily basis for different kind of reasons, indicating "things are better off under the Wannie Scott McDonald -led administration than they were in the past."

On the issue of reported lack of workers association which sources named as major dilemma facing employees, the JFK media & communication specialist, who later took our reporter on a guided tour of the hospital said "they need to understand that they are here to take care of patients and not hold meetings while patients are dying," and stressed "patients must be given absolute care here."

He called on employees to exercise maximum patients as the administration is working harder to clean the system in order to make hospital the best.

He confirmed reports that there were people undergoing police investigation but it was in connection with the forging of doctors' signature and falsification of other medical documents for ulterior motives.

"We are not a forensic institution and what we do here we call in the police when there is a problem to conduct investigation. Once it is established that one is not connected, that person is free to return to work," Goah indicated, and disclosed that two nurses who were being investigated for wrongdoing were vindicated and have returned to work.

At the same time, he denied allegation of mass burial of dead ones whose relatives cannot afford heavy fees charged to release their bodies, saying that the hospital is not profit-making entity, neither is it a charitable organization and confirmed the payment of a minimal fee of US$30 before a body is released to relatives.

"What is happening is that most of the people brought here are from the interior and when they passed off, their relatives turned their backs, thereby placing the hospital in the position that forces it to dispose of the body after some time," Goah said.

He also denied reports that Madam Munah Tarpeh and Mary Howard Nyanquoi were being used by the general administrator to spy on employees, saying that they two of them were given supervisory role over the Maternal Center and Hospital, being that she (general administrator) cannot be everywhere, adding that Madam Nyanquoi was officially appointed as director of the Hospital by the JFK Board.

Goah said "what is happening is that people are not allowed to do those ugly things they did in that past that impugned on the prestige of the hospital, and these are the people that are passing false information about happenings at the Hospital."

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