Lawmaker Troubled Over High Fees At Public Health Facilities

By Abraham Moris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

Grand Bassa County Senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Gender and Social Protection, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, is craving plenary indulgence to ensure that the Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice Dahn and Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh, be invited in a public hearing to provide clarity on the health status of the country and also state as to why x-ray machines are not found in the various regional and referral hospitals.

In a communication to plenary dated August 10, 2015, Senator Lawrence said due to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country and the vulnerability of the country’s health sector, many donors were attracted to the country and have been raising huge amounts of money to help Liberia.

She also wants plenary to inquire from the Chief Medical Officer as to why money is raised and donated for free health care but and money is being collected by the John F. Kennedy  (JFK) Medical hospital and other public health facilities around the country.

“I Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence have paid over US$500.00 (five hundred United States dollars) to release a patient at JFK, including other amounts paid to the JFK and other government health institutions,” she explained.

According to her, as much as she supports free health care, there is a need to define what free health care delivery is and what should be paid at government health facilities, so as to remove financial burden on ordinary Liberians or divert those funds being generated to government revenue for the improvement of the facilities and also provide the necessary services needed.

Senator Lawrence continued: “Today, all regional/major hospitals in the country do not have x-ray machines, the most needed and cheapest medical equipment. Drugs are never available; patients have to purchase almost everything before treatment, because the there is a claim that the revenue envelope is small to do more.”

“Therefore, Dr. Kateh should be invited for an open public hearing to tell us how well the free medical program is working in the country’s health sector,” the communication noted.

The Grand Bassa County Senator recalled that on August 6, 2015, the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives to pass the 2015/16 National Budget. And in that budget, a total of US$72 million has been allocated for MOH which is 12 percent of the entire budget mostly covering salaries.

But instead of inviting the two Ministers, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff recommended that the Committee on Health, Gender and Social Protection, headed by Senator Peter Coleman invite the Minister and her Deputy in committee room to investigate the issues at bar and report to plenary in a week time; a decision that received unanimous endorsement.