By Patrick Stephen Tokpah
The Health Workers Union of Liberia, Bong Chapter has given a one-week ultimatum to the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Justice to promptly investigate and bring to book perpetrators in the recent violence incident that led to the alleged brutalization of one of its members in the county.
It can be recalled that on November 4, in Gbonota, Bong County District#4, supporters of Unity Party and Bong County Electoral District-3 lawmaker Josiah Marvin Cole supporters engaged in a fist fight that resulted in the alleged brutalization of the Officer-In-Charge, OIC of Gbonata Clinic, Allison Kollie where the two parties had gone to engage Health Workers in a meeting.
Following the alleged brutalization of Allison Kollie, the Health Workers Union of Bong County on Tuesday, November 7,staged a peaceful protest at the Gbarnga Administration Building and petitioned the Justice Ministry in demand of Justice for their college Alison Kollie.
Reading the petition statement, Obadiah Kermue, District Health Officer (DHO) of Jorquelleh Health District#3 on behalf of the disenchanted Bong County Health Workers threatened to abandon their various workplaces if the Ministry Justice and authorities of the county failed to come up with findings from the investigation on or before November 15, 2023.
“We want to use this medium to announce the withdrawal of our services on November 15, 2023, if the fate of our colleague is not established, with the perpetrator being brought to book and adequate security protection is provided for all health workers throughout the health facilities.
It’s very important that we send a very strong message that violence against healthcare workers and other peaceful people is not and should not be tolerated in our society,” they added.
The aggrieved Health Workers said as foot soldiers against diseases and improving healthcare delivery system to the country, they must be recognized for their invaluable contributions and ensure their safety.
“We condemn all forms of attacks on health workers in GbonotaClinic and elsewhere and call on the public, including the market women, the traditional chiefs, the council of churches, and the Muslim community to denounce violence and insist on a safer environment for those who selflessly dedicate themselves to the well-being of Mama Liberia,” the aggrieved Health Workers noted.
The Bong County Health Workers in their petition said they are deeply disturbed and outraged by the violent assault on their colleague, a health worker in the Gbonota Clinic, electoral district#4, Bong County by Rep. Marvin Cole and his supporters.
According to the Health Workers, based on Hon. Cole’s previous action against peaceful citizens in Bong County and other parts of the country, this November 4, 2023, horrific and unwarranted attack was a well-calculated, premeditated, and purposely planned, not only for the Gbonota Clinic OIC but rather to eliminate as many health workers as he (Rep. Cole) could.
Moreover, the health workers alleged that Rep. Marvin Cole’s action poses a serious threat to their well-being as healthcare professionals in their various communities they live in and also undermines the vital role of healthcare services they are providing to the citizens of Liberia.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Liberian government, Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Bong County Health Team Officer, Dr. Cynthia Blapooh, Bong County Development Superintendent, Solomane Swaray and Bong County Police commander, Fasu Sheriff assured the disenchanted Health Workers to remain calm and allow the Liberia National Police to do their investigation.
Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah further assured the aggrieved health workers that their petition will be addressed and further told the health workers that Liberia Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and other authorities of government will be in Bong County on November 8, 2023, to meet with them as disenchant health workers.
She told the aggrieved health workers that their colleague Alison Kollie is responding to treatment at JFK, adding “I visited him (Alison Kollie) and all the tests that were supposed to be done have already been done.”
Dr. Jallah expressed sadness over the ill-treatment of the Gbonota Clinic OIC in the County.
Also speaking Commander Fasu Sherriff further told the disenchanted Health Workers that an investigation had begun into the matter and findings would be made public; adding that anyone who will be held culpable would face the full weight of the Liberian laws.