The chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone, Mr. Abdul Tejan-Cole has disclosed the magnitude of embedded and widespread corruption in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. He made this disclosure at the presentation of a 42 page report entitled “Recommendation for Reform: Towards Better Health Care Delivery System” to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. The ceremony was held on Tuesday 5th May at the Ministry’s conference room, forth floor Youyi Building, Freetown.
The report proffers a number of recommendations for reform aimed at improving health care delivery and eliminating or reducing the risk of the occurrence of corrupt practice in the Ministry and hospitals and health centers across the country.
The report covers areas like; revenue collection, improvement in the conditions of service, procurement, the role of the management committees and secretaries, government subventions, audit and stores management and decentralization.
After identifying key areas within the Ministry where corruption is imminent the report went further to proffer certain recommendations to prevent corruption. The recommendations include: centralization of Revenue Collection in all government hospitals, all financial management by Unit Heads must be made known to the principal Accountant and vote controller, Financial information of funding partners must be made known to the Vote Controller at all times; Government subvention to hospitals be increased and paid timely; Doctors should provide professional service in the hospitals and should leave administration entirely in the hands of the Administrators; the management committees, Hospital Boards and secretaries should be given greater autonomy to carry out their mandate as provided for in the Hospital Boards Act 2003; the condition of service for employees in the health sector must be reviewed and a host of other recommendations came out of the report.
The ACC boss affirmed that the role of the Commission is not only limited to investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices but also charged with the responsibility of preventing corruption from taking place. He considered the report as a positive move in the right direction toward the prevention of corruption within government Ministries.
Receiving the 42 page report the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Sheku Tejan Koroma expressed his gratitude and heart felt felicitation to the ACC for under taking the survey that will help to minimize the level of corruption within the health ministry. He however expressed dismay over the negative manner in which the Ministry is presented to the public. The Minister was also concerned over the low salary condition of health workers in the country noting that health workers in Sierra Leone are the least paid in the entire West Africa Sub Region.