Chief Administrator Dr. Wvannie Scott- McDonald briefs the press
After weeks of allegations about mass burial, refusing patients and corruption at the John F. Kenney Memorial Hospital, the nation’s oldest referral hospital, the management of the hospital has broken silence, dismissing the claims as untrue.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, 29 April at the JFK compound in Sinkor, Monrovia, Chief Administrator Dr. Wvannie Scott- McDonald said, at no time under her administration has the hospital rejected patients because it remains the government’s prime referral health facility.
She said it is so unfortunate that people are bent on damaging the reputation of the JFK by unfairly implicating some of its staffs to financial malpractices, when in fact, members of the criminal syndicate, who were within the employ of the hospital were uncovered, investigated and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.
Dr. MacDonald narrated that when she took over the hospital in 2006, the medical center was partially closed, and only the maternity wing was opened to the public, but she did her very best to have both sections running at a stage where they now treat 500 persons daily, so for people to say they turn down patients is so unfortunate because professionally, doctors embrace and don’t turn down.
Dr. MacDonald addressed the media in the vicinity of the Administrative Conference Hall situated on the grounds of the hospital following a two-hour tour of the facilities with Journalists in her endeavor to provide accurate firsthand account of the current state of the institution aimed at dispelling widespread rumors that the hospital was at the verge of breakdown.
Also speaking at the press conference, a senior staff, Dr. Billy Johnson said, one of the problems the JFK is faced with is that people don’t go to the hospital until they are very sick, which makes it very difficult for them to receive quick resuscitation.
He encouraged the public, particularly Liberians to develop the habit of seeking regular check or when the sickness is just at an early stage. Dr. Johnson said treatment for children less than 5 years is free, so claims that the JFK is rejecting patients are false.
For her part, chief financial officer, Mrs. SerinaGbaba, expressed frustration over the unprofessional behavior of some media entities in for reporting without seeking further clarification. “Unfortunately we have been vilified for uncovering corruption; in order to vilify those who uncovered the syndicate, legitimate transactions that we are doing to prevent delay in delivery of healthcare and promote patient care in the medical center; these transactions are being twisted to meet the aims of people to vilify those that uncovered the criminals”, MrsGbaba lamented.
She noted, “It’s unfortunate because as journalists, it is good to always verified information before publication or announcing these transactions that are being vilified; these are legal transactions”. Serina said financial policies at the hospital are strictly monitored by an internal auditor in line with supporting documents that can substantiate every expenditure, contrary to report that staffs of the hospital were issuing checks in their own names.
She disclosed that a check for US$1.5 Million issued on October 26, 2015 to the Deputy for Administration, MunahTarpeh, was withdrawn from the hospital subsidy account since there were no funds available in the payroll account to underwrite the cost of employee’s salaries payment for that period, because according to her, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) had not remitted employees’ salary into the account, and she did not want the employees to start making noise for their salary.
She said management has a policy in place that employees get their monthly salary on the 28th of each month. “Now if for any reason there is not sufficient funds in the payroll account, and we do not want to delay payment of these employees.”
Meanwhile, Doctor MacDonal has urged the public to verify some of the widely spread falsehood that has been told against the JFK and its staffs, who from all indications, have done a very tremendous work to revive the broken down hospital as a result of the civil unrest up to a state of art health facility.
By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne