“Health workers must not turn a blind eye to the fight against corruption because the scourge does not only deprive us of basic clinical equipment but also adversely affects the delivery of quality healthcare”. This statement was made by the Medical Superintendent, Government Hospital, Bo, Dr. Alex Kanu, in a customized meeting organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region Office, to promote ethical values and corruption safeguards to employees of the hospital. The engagement took place on Thursday 13th October 2022 at the hospital’s Conference Room, Eye Clinic Division, in Bo.
Dr. Kanu affirmed the hospital management’s commitment to ensure the smooth operations of health facilities and by making sure that health workers adhere to the codes of conduct of their profession in a bid to deliver quality health care services.
In his statement, ACC’s Southern Region Manager, Momodu Sittar, underscored the relevance of health workers and encouraged them not to compromise their core responsibility of saving lives due to self-seeking motive. He admonished health workers to inoculate themselves from the temptation of participating in unethical practices that will breach public trust and confidence.
Mr. Sittar said that corruption has caused many problems for the State, including poor infrastructure, high unemployment and the decade-long civil war that the country experienced in the 1990s. He also spoke on some of the deliberate and conscious efforts the Government and its development partners are making to improve health care delivery. “But in spite of these efforts, if the health care system is plagued with deceitfulness, the society becomes unhealthy and unproductive,” Mr. Sittar added.
The ACC Manager also drew their attention to the amendments that have been made to some provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 in 2019. He said the amendment provided for stiffer fines and sentences, and restitution of funds misappropriated. He advised the hospital staff to execute their duties within the remit of the law as any suspected act of corruption will be thoroughly investigated by the ACC.
ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Abdulai Saccoh, singled out corruption as an obstacle to the country’s aspiration to attaining Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. He said poor service delivery has severe consequences for access, quality, equity, efficiency, and efficacy of health services. Mr. Saccoh acknowledged the challenges the health sector is confronted with, noting that they are surmountable only if there is judicious use of subventions and other resources allocated by the Government and partners. “Healthcare services will also improve if disciplinary code is enforced amongst staff, hospital management embarked on a robust supervision of staff, health workers maintain integrity and ensure fair treatment to all patients,” he emphasized.ACC's Public Education Officer, Mohamed A. Kabba, described the engagement as a platform to educate staff on corruption issues and to solicit their support in the fight against corruption. He said that the Commission does not work in isolation but collaborates with other pillars of integrity to combat the scourge. He explained the benefits of reporting corruption, how to report and the protection for informants or whistleblowers. He cautioned them to refrain from making false reports to the Commission as it constitutes an offence. Mr. Kabba read out the ACC mobile phone lines of 077-985985/077-986986 to make reports.