ACC presents 73 recommendations for Serabu Hospital
Sierra Leone, Freetown: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has at the conclusion of a comprehensive and thorough systems and processes review exercise on the Serabu Hospital presented 73 financial and administrative recommendations to be implemented with utmost urgency.
The said measures the Commission say is to address the systems weaknesses identified during their exercises which was prompted by a letter addressed to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bo, Most Rev. Charles A. M Campbell, by the ‘German Doctors Hilfe, Die Bleibt’.
The letter made a series of corruption-related claims against the Management of the Hospital including; “recurring structural problems” at the Hospital, “non-settlement of account dating back to April, 2021”, “not acting on an Independent Audit issues, resulting to some worsening off”, “theft of medicine”, “violation of procurement rules”, and “doctors and CHOs working for weeks without gloves and medicine, even though funding was provided for (them) by the German Doctors”.
According to the ACC, the review aimed to identify system failures at the Serabu Community Hospital; examine the structural problems raised by the German Doctors; examine the various structures of the Serabu Hospital with a view of identifying weaknesses in practices and procedures and proffering appropriate instructions; instruct the establishment of appropriate systems and processes in place at the Hospital and; restore trust between the German Doctors and the Steering Management Board of the Hospital to continue their cooperation in the interest of the people of Serabu and its environs.
The exercise captured 17 key findings contained under four broad categories: issues highlighted in the letter of the German Doctors, recommendations of an independent review of the operations of the Serabu Community Hospital, corruption risk assessment and grievance redress mechanism to address patients’ concerns.
The findings include; violation of procurement rules, non-availability of gloves for use in hospital, no trained and qualified pharmacist and drug storekeeper, no internal auditor and monitoring and evaluation officer, the existence of a dormant Hospital Board, nonexistence of financial policy and procedure manual, no automated recording of the dispensation of the drugs in the pharmacy, no fixed asset register and fixed asset management, non-issuance of receipt for the various services paid for by patients.
These findings underscored the complaints of the German Doctors and many were confirmed. It also took into consideration cooperation lapses in the partnership agreement between the Hospital, the Catholic Diocese of Bo and the German Doctors.
The Report proffers Seventy-three (73) recommendations which the Commission has urged the Hospital Management to implement with utmost urgency in a bid to address these systems weaknesses. Some of the key recommendations are as follows:
Highlight of the proffered measures are, monthly stock taking be conducted on the Hospital’s main medical stores and pharmacy; Management develops a financial procedure manual; Close Circuit Televisions (CCTV) be installed in strategic locations such as the gate, pharmacy, corridors of wards and stores; service charter be developed, placed in strategic location, and regularly updated when there are changes in prices and services.
In addition, the ACC also included that an internal auditor be recruited and strengthened to ensure the effective monitoring and reporting of compliance to internal administrative control and that the Board be properly constituted and regularly meets at established periods and times, to discuss and take decisions on the day-to-day running of the Hospital with the view that the Germans will be provided updates, minutes shared with them of Board meetings.
The Commission says it shall monitor implementation of the recommendations within three months of the date of the presentation of the findings ‘Report on the Review of the Practices and Procedures of the Management of the Serabu Community Hospital, Bo District’, that was presented to the Management and Staff of the Catholic Diocese of Bo, the Serabu Community Hospital and ‘German Doctors Hilfe, Die Bleibt’.
The presentation of the Report took place on Wednesday 8th September 2021 at the St. Francis Xavier Hall in Bo. The Catholic Church, the Hospital and their partners have written to the ACC appreciating the Commission for its timely intervention and remedial actions. ZIJ/15/9/2021
By [email protected]