-MOH, MFDP Disclose
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
Phebe Hospital in Gbarnga, Bong County has received US$1.5million according to the Ministers of Health and Finance and Development Planning despite cry that the hospital lacks monies to operate as a referral hospital in that part of the country.
Phebe Hospital in addition to fuel shortage is said to be facing numerous challenges including lack of gloves, among others. it is also alleged that patients seeking medication at the hospital buy their own gloves before they are touched by Medical Doctors and other staffs at the hospital.
It is also reported that since March 2019, the Hospital has been having difficulties in giving patients medicines, getting fuel and other basic needs.
Patients have had to depend on candles and other torches to provide light for wards where there were no small standby generators.
Dormitories hosting staffs and students of the Phebe Nursing School have not been spared the pitch-black darkness.
Dr. Jefferson Sibley, the Medical Director of Phebe Hospital, once alleged that they have been preoccupied with finding fuel to keep the lights. He also said doctors are operating in the dark, while vital medical supplies are lacking.
Based on these compounding situations at the hospital, Bong County electoral district three Representative Josiah Marvin Cole wrote the plenary of the House of Representatives to invite the Ministers of Health and Finance and Development Planning to explain what their respective ministries have done to remedy the situations at the Phebe Hospital.
Appearing before members of the House of Representatives Thursday May 30, 2019, the Minister of Health, Dr. Williamina Jallah revealed that the Liberian Government has made available US$1.5million to the management of the Phebe Hospital up to date.
Minister Jallah revealed that despite the numerous complaints from the Phebe Hospital, the hospital has in her coffers a little over US$250,000.00.
“As of today’s, date, the Liberian Government has provided US$1.5million to the management of Phebe Hospital. Of this amount, US$328,000.00 have been used to procured to buy fuel to keep the hospital running,” Minister Jallah revealed.
She also announced that there is a drugs depot at the hospital; saying they want the legislative caucus of Bong County to help them with the monitoring of how drugs are distributed in the county.
“We will now work with the county’s caucus to ensure the hospital receive the drugs in their presence. We are getting ready to do round 12 of the drugs distributions,” she added.
For his part, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah said there is a need to have a system in place to monitor the health system.
According to him, monies given by the government are not getting the investments in return and as such; he wants a criteria set to show what he calls ‘dollar-for-dollar’ in order to use the monies for the intended purpose.
“We budgeted US$1.9million and we have made available US$1.52million. of this amount, US$943,000.00 for salaries as of May 2019. The hospital has a grant of US$100,000.00 and US$49,000.00 has been disbursed,” Minister Tweah disclosed.
According to him, he is shocked that some hospitals that have received over US$400,000.00 still complaining of fuel.
“We have today some of the highest supplies of drugs in the country’s history. The health sector was allotted US$81million, US$54million has been disbursed already,” Minister Tweah added.
Brief History of Phebe Hospital
The hospital was constructed in 1965 as a Faith-Based health facility by three churches, the Lutheran, the Episcopal, and the Methodist churches, with support from the government of Liberia.
In 1973, the hospital became Bong County Referral Hospital of the Government, during the tenure of the late President William R. Tolbert due to financial constraints.
Prior to the outbreak of Liberia’s 14years of civil war, the hospital was one of the best within the Mano River Basin; treating patients from Guinea, Sierra Leone Ivory Coast, among others.