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Doctors’ withdrawal stirs fear in Bong

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Several citizens of Bong County have expressed fear over the government’s alleged action to withdraw Doctors from the Phebe Hospital in Gbarnga.

Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh recently confirmed to a local radio station in Gbarnga, the reassigning of government’s employed Medical Doctors at the Phebe Referral Hospital.

According to Dr. Kateh, this is in reaction to the alleged refusal of the hospital’s board to offer slots to the Liberian government for appointments and key decision – making.

Dr. Kateh in his telephone interview recently said the decision is meant to empower government – owned facilities, instead of promoting institutions that do not want to adhere to government’s mandate.

But his statement has sparked fear among local residents of the county, many of whom do not afford to attend a private hospital in the county.

The citizens mostly radio talk-show participants say even though Phebe Referral Hospital faces challenges, it is better to have professional doctors at the facility instead of withdrawing them.

Aaron Kamara, a resident of Million Quarter Community tells a local radio station that the reported action of the government is a complete disaster to the ordinary citizens, calling on the government to with immediate effect reconsider its decision.

“I want to appeal to the government through Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah to please send back our doctors. Phebe Hospital has and continues to do well for the ordinary citizens, so if government wants to close eyes on the support of the hospital, then it will be harming the locals,” he says.

Nancy Kerkulah, a Bong County – based market woman claims to have been denied [medication] as a result of her failure to buy glove for her pregnant daughter. She says it is better for patients to be paying little amount for treatment than to abandon the hospital.

She suggests that it would be a complete abandonment of the people if the government doesn’t send back or replace whoever it withdrew.

At the same time, many citizens have are accusing Jorquelleh District #3 Representative Josiah Marvin Cole of being the mastermind of the government’s plan.

Representative Cole had over the past described Phebe Hospital as a corruption center, accusing doctors and administrators of the hospital of being corrupt even though an audit report from the hospital did not indict anyone of using monies for their own interest.

Cole had also threatened to have the budget of the hospital reduced if it failed to define its position whether it is private or government institution.

Even though others are accusing Rep. Cole, some are also saying it is a plan by the government and not the lawmaker alone. Representative Cole is yet to speak to the media on the allegation levied against him.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong County–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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