-Says Minister of Health-designate Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah as her confirmation now appears certain
The Minister of Health-Designate Dr.Wilhelmina Jallah has reminded members of the Senate Committee on Health, Gender, Social Welfare, Children & Women Affairs that she is still obeying the advice of her lawyer not to make public statements about the case between her medical center, Hope for Women International, and the family of the late Mrs. Desiree Fahnbulleh.
The Committee recently suspended the confirmation hearing of Dr. Jallah’s nomination, when she refused to answer questions centered on the death of one of her patients (the late Desiree). A doctor at Hope for Women International is reported to have performed an operation on Fahnbulleh, which resulted into her death, while Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah was in the United States.
However, a member of the Committee, Margibi County Senator Jim Tornolah, raised the same haunting questions about the death of Desiree. But following consultations among members of the Committee, Senator Coleman informed her (Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah) she could comment on it if she so desired.
Unlike the first time when she appeared before the Committee and received a barrage of questions, the Peter Coleman-chaired committee members adopted a more conciliatory posture by delving more into pressing national health issues and what strategies she intends to apply for improvement.
In fact, Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye reminded his colleagues that the matter in hand was more about confirmation hearings, and not to delve into legal matters, which is the responsibility of another branch of the government.
That aspect cleared, the Committee then brought up the feud between the National Health Workers and the Ministry of Health, a situation which has created bad blood between that Ministry and the Senate, leading to the eventual resignation of then Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale.
Dr. Jallah promised that if confirmed, every avenue will be broached to ensure that she does not inherit the same problem which started when leaders of the Health Workers were dismissed and their names deleted from the payroll.
The Minister of Health-designate promised to work with the leadership of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC), to find solutions to its many problems, such as public outcries on fees for treatment and fees charged for keeping bodies in the Center’s morgue.
On questions of reports that employees at the National Drug Service (NDS) were using donated drugs in their private medical facilities, Dr. Jallah promised that a center will be constructed for storage of NDS supplies, to be jointly monitored by her ministry and the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Finally discharged by the Sergeant-at-arms, Dr. Jallah breathed a visible sigh of relief, accompanied by a large crowd of nurses clad in white uniforms and women wearing white T-shirts. She was greeted on the grounds of the Capitol Building by an even larger crowd, with chants and the sound of drums in the background.
Members of the Committee present at hearing in the jam-packed Senate Chamber included Senators Peter Coleman, G. Varney Sherman, Daniel Flomo Naatehn, Alphonso Gaye, Jim Tornolah, George Tengbeh, Dallas A. V. Gueh, and Sando Dazoe Johnson.
Maryland County Senator Gbleh-Bo Brown, who raised the motion that suspended the first hearing two weeks ago, was conspicuously absent at yesterday’s hearings.