“Corruption breeds in an ecosystem where there is little appetite to learn from the past to correct the present and guide the future,” said, the Medical Superintendent of the United Brethren in Christ Hospital (UBC) Dr. Adeyayan O. Ebenezer in a sensitization meeting organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region Office on Wednesday 28th July 2021 at the Outpatient Unit of the hospital in Mattru Jong, Bonthe District.
Dr. Ebenezer extended appreciation to the ACC for the knowledge gained from the engagement and called on his colleagues to positively work on the existing lapses in order to promote and enhance effective service delivery system to the public.
In his statement, ACC Regional Manager South Musa J.B. Jawara acknowledged the challenges confronting the Hospital but cautioned them not to use them as a licence to engage in corrupt acts. He reminded the health workers of their code of ethics which required them to give prominence to saving lives. “A weak health system is not only limited to inadequate medical supplies, personnel and infrastructure but also blatant disregard for best practices and regulatory framework guiding the operations of health facility,” he underscored.
The Regional Manager pointed out that corruption poses serious threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal Three (Good Health and Wellbeing) despite the significant strides of Government and its partners to ensure quality healthcare for all.
He catalogued a number of interventions the Commission has undertaken to reduce the incentives and opportunities to engage in corruption through the review of procedures and processes in key public sector institutions, amendment of certain portions of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 and the deployment of prevention officers in the regions. He added that this transformation has resulted in high conviction rate, recovery of over Thirty-one Billion Leones, improvement in the country’s ratings on local and international indexes.
Mr. Jawara also stated that the determination of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifalla Esq. to fight corruption has not gone unrecognized as many respected institutions including the US State Department in February 2021, recognized him as an International Anti-Corruption Champion.
In his submission to the health workers, ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh said that, a health system which is infested with corruption does not only cause unavailability of basic medical equipment, but also death of people from curable diseases.
Mr. Saccoh highlighted a number of measures the management should institute to promote integrity, transparency and accountability such as: ensuring prudent financial management, enforcing discipline and embarking on robust supervision of staff, maintaining log book for vehicles and motorbikes, enforcing asset declaration regime, and adhering to procedures and policies in handling of public and donor funds. He warned health practitioners to desist from some of the practices that undermine the delivery of quality service such as, theft of drugs, absenteeism, soliciting money from patients in the free healthcare category, etc.
The Bonthe District Monitor, David Garrick described the engagement as a platform to educate health practitioners on issues of corruption, attempt to correct some of the misunderstandings, misperceptions and misconceptions people hold about the Commission. “These meetings are meant to interact with you, to demystify the Commission, and make it clear that the ACC’s is not a witch hunt institution but one which checkmates public bodies and also enlists your support to the fight against corruption,” he averred. He also noted that the ACC does not work in isolation but in collaboration with other pillars of integrity to combat the scourge of corruption.
A question-and-answer session formed the high point of the engagement.