Staff at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK), the nation’s referral hospital are demanding an intensive probe Tuesday’s (May 30) fire disaster within the hospital compound, which left the laboratoryand entire offices, including warehouse of the National Drugs Service (NDS) totally destroyed.
The NDS is the storage center for all medical drugs brought into the country, situated in the JFK compound. The medical workers, who prefer annonmity, allege that of late, huge consignment of essential drugs disappeared in thin air from the NDS warehouse, which led hospital authorities to laucnh an investigation.
According to them, the warehouse was gutted by fire only after an investigation was ordered into the sudden disappreance of the drugs. The health workers, who decline to name those reportedly linked to the alleged drug theft at the warehouse, however confirm that some senior management officials were implicated in the scandal.
They further disclose that it was difficult to understand how the fire gutted the facility when there was no power outage by the Liberia Electricity Corporation on which the cause of the disaster could probably be attributed.
They believe some fellow health workers may have under the cover of darkness looted some essential medicines from the warehouse to take them to their respective private clinics and elsewhere.
The suspecious employees then wonder how could the fire destroyed the NDS warehouse without affecting nearby structures, explaining that the fire, which started around 10:30 PM on Tuesday, continued to Wednesday morning, 30 May as flames could be seen pulling out of the destroyed storage facilities, while fire fighters from the Liberia National Fire Service battle to off the fire.
Chief Fire Investigator Robert M. Holder, who was on the scene, told The NEWDAWN that he could not comment on the situation, because he had just arrived there. The LNFS Fire Chief also disclosed that he would have to talked to firemen who were deployed to fight the blazing fire before making any statement on the matter.
Dozens of hospital staff, including nurses stoodby, looking in complete disbelief and disappointment as though they have lost some loved ones. Meanwhile, the JFK Management has issued a press statement in Monrovia, regretting the fire incident involving both the laboratory and medical supplies warehouse of the National Drugs Service (NDS). The Management however, clarifies that though the JFK Medical Center houses the National Drugs Service, no components of the Memorial and the Maternity Hospitals have been affected.
The release continues that unfortunately, the cause of the fire incident remains unknown, but the hospital is equally working with the relevant authorities to control the situation.
“The Management is meanwhile calling on the public not to panic and to further desist from spreading rumors. The relevant authorities are working tirelessly to bring the situation under control. In the same vein, the Management commends the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Fire Service (LFS) and United Nation Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) for the swift intervention. This collective intervention was fantastically incredible.”
The JFK wishes to assure the public that patients and staff are safe and that an investigation will uncover the cause of the fire.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne
The main roof of the warehouse completely tear down by the fire Partial view of the destroyed JFK drugs warehouse Firemen of the Liberia National Fire assing the damaged caused by the fire One of the fire fighter trucks supplying water during the incidence.