The Anti-Corruption Commission’s Northeast office has warned the District Health Management Team in Koinadugu to reject all forms of corruption by striving to maintain ethical conduct while serving the public. The call was made in a customized meeting the Commission had with the DHMT on 13th January 2022 in Kabala.
The manager of the ACC’s regional office, Mariama Navo, said in the meeting that many citizens had raised concerns about misconduct relating to the DHMT. She disclosed that reports of alleged corruption, which particularly increased in the last quarter of 2021, had to do mainly with Abuse of Office and Abuse of Position within the Health Management Team in Koinadugu District. She described the situation as grave and stressed the need for the meeting, in order to educate the health providers about corruption and the Commission’s invariant resolve to combat it in all public institutions.
Miss Navo said that corruption within the health service structure would deny citizens of needed medical attention and treatment and, consequently, death, a situation which could be worse for the poor across communities in the country. She therefore urged the Team to uphold uppermost service delivery to the communities they operate in over personal gain. ‘Every official in the public sector of the country should bear in mind that the centerpiece in service delivery is integrity’ she said, ‘without which the citizens, including all of us here, will suffer the hazards of corruption.’
According to the manager, one way in which the ACC confronts corruption is public education. This, she told her audience, is a fulfilment of Section 7, Sub Section 2, Paragraph (o) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019. ‘The provision mandates the Commission to inform the public about the menace of corruption and the potential gains in eliminating it. This approach requires the active and full support of the public,’ the manager remarked, calling the engagement with the DHMT as the right thing to do.
While the Commission’s public education approach is friendly and helpful, the anti-graft agency maintains an unwavering commitment to punishing corruption without compromise, the manager warned. In relation to the matters contained in the 2020 Auditor General’s Report, she revealed that the Commission had arrested and detained over thirty senior public officials from institutions, including the offices of the President and Vice President and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education over the Christmas season. ‘This should serve as a red flag to you and all others in the public sector.’
The Senior Public Education Officer in the region, Abdul Karim Bangura, said in his contribution that the DHMT needs to pay attention to the management of the operations of peripheral health units in connection with deployment of nurses and the supply and control of drugs. He raised the issue that reports point at health workers who are hardly often present at their health centres particularly in remote communities, stressing that registers at the centres should be updated to track absenteeism.
In response to the anti-graft messages, the District Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Fornie who chaired the occasion, said on behalf of his colleagues that he was pleased to have interacted with the lead institution in the fight against corruption in the country. He called the meeting ‘a timely engagement’ and promised to work with the entire DHMT in Koinadugu to forestall any plausible act of corruption within bounds of the Team. He touted the ‘incredible’ work he together with his team has been doing in delivering medical service to communities within Koinadugu District.
The audience asked several questions about the work of the Commission by the close of the engagement.