It’s nearly two weeks since the special investigative committee established to probe breaches in the health and administrative protocols governing the issuance of Covid-19 test results by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia submitted findings and recommendations to President George Manneh Weah.
The President of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council, Dr. Linda Birch headed the committed, which presented its findings to President Weah on August 14, 2020 in Monrovia, accompanied by pieces of evidence.
President Weah on Monday, August 10, 2020 suspended the Acting Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia,Dr. MasokaFallah, for alleged fraud and ethical breach, which came after tree officials of NPHIL issued a negative COVID-19 traveler’s certificate to a Liberian born American Ms. Skeeter T. Wilson, who was bundled out of an airplane on Sunday August 2, 2020, by Liberian Immigration Service officials after authorities discovered that the certificate issued was forged.
Ms. Wilson had earlier tested Covid-19 positive and through the Incident Management System (IMS) treatment protocol was informed about her positive results and placed under treatment, but less than a week, a certificate under the signature of Dr. MakosaFallah was issued to the patient, declaring her negative of the virus hence, qualifying her to travel abroad only to be asked out of a flight at the Roberts International Airport for being in possession of forged clearance or certificate.
Dr. Fallah claimed his chief of office staff Jonathan G. Ender affixed his (Dr. Fallah’s) electronic signature on the document without his knowledge, saying, “I never even knew that this was happening under my nose.”
Similar scenario occurred with University of Liberia Professor Alaric Tokpah, whom the NPHIL certificated Covid-19 negative and was subsequently on his way to the airport to visit his wife in the United States when authorities at the Health Institute called and informed him that he was issued wrong certificate, as his health status had not been certified.
President Weah did the right thing by suspending the NPHIL boss and instituting a probe to get to the roots of the matter. But since the Dr. Birch-led committee submitted findings, nothing has been heard about accountability and responsibility at the health entity, which is drawing anxiety among the public on a critical matter such as health.
We are fully aware that government initially suspended three officials of NPHIL, including the deputy director for environmental and occupational health, Amos F. Gborie, the deputy director for national public health and reference laboratory, FahnTaweh and Jonathan G. Ender, chief of office staff of Dr. MasokaFallah, respectively.
It is important that President Weah release findings from the probe to the public as quickly as possible in order to re-establish public confidence in the entire Covid-19 fight, especially test results of suspected cases so as to ally all doubts, fears, suspicions and disbeliefs about the government’s handling of the health pandemic.