New Medical Director Warns Staff
The Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island saw a transition in its administrative structure on January 19 when Dr. Paul Wesseh took over from Dr. Mohammed Sankoh as Medical Director.
The turnover ceremony attended by a host of medical officials including representatives of the Ministry of Health left Dr. Wesseh with no other words of advice to nurses but to state emphatically that he would go strictly by ethical rules for medical practitioners without compromise.
Beginning with words of commendation for a few workers for their dedicated services to the hospital, Dr. Wesseh said: “We have to establish a client-based service that will be bi-dimensional.”
He explained the ‘bi-dimensional’ philosophy as a situation whereby nurses and other medical practitioners do not only prescribe medication for a patient but administer it to them under compassionate care.
Redemption is among several hospitals in Monrovia that have been publicly criticized for poor work attitude of nurses and other health workers. Abandoning and insulting patients, demand for money above patient’s life, and nurses giving attention to social media and nail-trimming during work have been some malpractices recorded by the Liberian Nurses Association (LibNA) in post-conflict Liberia.
LibNA reports delivered during the celebration of International Nurses Day in 2010-2011, observed how many Liberian nurses have been inattentive to patients, but engage in personal activities contrary to ethics and good work habits. The report spoke of many hospitals and clinics in the constant habit of rejecting patients including emergency cases if money charged is not paid immediately.
Noting that the Redemption Hospital nurses are not exempt, Dr. Wesseh, in his acceptance remarks, said such behaviors will not be condoned at the hospital, emphasizing that “unethical” behavior will not be permitted in his administration. He promised to ensure that reports of any such acts will be fully investigated and the appropriate punitive measures taken to serve as deterrence to others.
He added that if they as administrators are given the power to hire and fire workers, the fight against unprofessional conduct in the medical profession will diminish at Redemption.
He admonished physicians and specialists to avoid pride and coercive leadership styles and work with their subordinates, so that the subordinates will respect them.
Redemption Hospital is a public health facility intended to provide free medical services to patients. It was forced to shut down in September 2014, when about 112 persons died there from Ebola.
With the help of the International Committee of Red Cross, Medicine Sans Frontier, and other partners, it reopened in 2015, and has become the host center of research for the Ebola vaccine.
Considering its background as a facility relying on government for financial support, Dr. Wesseh said for two fiscal periods now there has been no allotment to the hospital, which is hindering its operation. He also promised that if he receives support from stakeholders, he will establish a database that will monitor and accurately record the consumption rate of fuel as well as the quantity of fuel consumed by the generator, possibly one of the major costs of the hospital.
He extolled Dr. Sankoh for the three-month orientation provided him, and Health Minister Bernice Dahn for allowing him to work at several health facilities, among which are the Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center, the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Hospital, the Ganta United Methodist Hospital, where he stayed and established the Newman Clinic in Ganta, all in Nimba County.
While Dr. Wesseh cautioned workers to be ethically conscious, Dr. Sankoh said that the present cooperation between workers at the hospital has brought transformation in the work habits of employees.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Francis Kateh, urged workers especially supervisors to put aside sentiments of superiority to provide selfless services in line with the oath they took as doctors and nurses.
Dr. Kateh called on supervisors or heads to at times play the roles of their subordinates showing leadership by example.