The Senate Committee on health headed by Grand Kru County Senator, Dr. Peter Coleman yesterday adjourned confirmation hearings of Health Minister-designate, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah.
The adjournment came following Bong County Senator Henry Yallah’s inquiry about the death of Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh, which is believed to have been caused by negligence on the part of Dr. Jallah and her medical staff at the Hope for Women International Clinic in Paynesville in 2016.
Dr. Jallah failed to respond to Senator Yallah’s questions about protests by family members of the deceased against her confirmation on grounds that the case is already in court.
“I cannot comment on that question Sen. Yallah, because the case is before the law,” Dr. Jallah said in response to Senator Yallah’s query on what is her position on the allegation of negligence that led to the death of Fahnbulleh.
Concerning what she will do to bring sanity to the health sector and ensure the curtailing of the many challenges health workers are faced with nowadays, she said that if confirmed, she will closely work with Government to ensure that President Weah’s pro-poor agenda is accomplished.
“Health workers across the country need good incentives, better housing and other sustained motivations to keep on their job. They want to serve but their service can only impact the lives of the many patients in the country when their basic needs are taken care of. They need good salaries,” she said.
Although many observers, including Lawmakers, apparently have no doubt about the excellence of Dr. Jallah’s credentials, long-time experience and the ability to deliver on duty, accusations of responsibility for Desiree Fahnbulleh’s death at her clinic seem to be a major obstacle. Many now doubt whether the Senate would confirm her or not.
Maryland County Senator, J. Gbleh-Bull Brown said: “I don’t want to sound personal in any way about this hearing. But what is important to note here is that we represent people and when their concerns are flagged we have to listen and do what is right,” Brown said.
He said there is no doubt about Dr. Jallah’s credentials, experience and ability to serve the health sector as head. But the Desiree Fahnbulleh’s case is a delicate one that requires adequate and deeper reflection.
An investigation conducted by the Liberia Dental and Medical Council (LDMC) established that Dr. Jallah was “liable for causing the wrongful death” of one of her patients, Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh, who reportedly died during childbirth. However Dr. Jallah maintains that she is innocent, especially since she was not in the country when Fahnbulleh met her demise during surgery.
Hundreds of members of the New Generation International Ministries, wearing black, in 2016 tearfully protested in front of the Hope for Women Hospital in Paynesville, against what they called the “wrongful death” of their founder and senior pastor, Rev. Desiree P.G. Fahnbulleh.
Reverend Simeon L. Dunbar, the Senior Pastor of the Liberty Christian Church and Head of the Heal the Land Prayer Network, and Deacon Larry Fahnbulleh, husband of the deceased, and other pastors were in attendance during the protest action.
Rev. Fahnbulleh, 40, died on Thursday, December 8 at the Hope for Women Hospital during childbirth. Her baby survived.