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ACC enlists support of Port Loko DHMT

The Public Education and Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) North-West Regional Office has solicited the unflinching support of the District Health Management Team (DHMT) in Port Loko.

Regional Manager, Al-Hassan Sesay recognized and acknowledged the importance of the DHMT in providing and managing the delivery of primary health care in the district.

He stated that over the past two years significant strides have been made in the fight against corruption and the commission is now poised with renewed energy and zest through the leadership of the Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala to take the fight to every nook and cranny of the country.

He emphasized the importance of the public education and prevention approaches in changing the mindset and perception of the citizenry in mitigating and winning the fight against graft and bribery. Manager Sesay went on to note that working in the DHMT either on voluntary or casual basis makes all of the staff public officers and by extension are covered by the ACC laws.

He therefore cautioned them to be cognizant of the law and the presence of the ACC in the region. “The fact that the ACC is now closer to you, you must desist from doing the wrong things as usual,” he emphasized.

Explaining the outcome of the 2019 national corruption perception survey, the Regional Manager informed them that the health sector occupied the second position as the most corrupt sectors which is indicative of the interaction with the public in delivering health services. The DHMT, he said, is the bedrock in terms of delivering health care services and public officers in the sector must ensure that their actions are in line with the law and best practices.

He highlighted key corruption offences including offering, soliciting and accepting advantage, abuse of office and position, misappropriation of public funds and property, misappropriation of donor fund and property, possession of unexplained wealth, corrupt acquisition of wealth, bid rigging and influencing a public officer.

He also pinpointed the ACC's concern about key corruption issues like double dipping, absenteeism, time theft and various extortion practices prevalent in Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) across the district.

Public Education Officer, Mohamed Thullah who spoke on the role of team in the fight against corruption, said senior management must device strong internal controls and robust monitoring mechanisms and also enhance best practices in their daily operations. He cited the ugly circumstance in PCMH and Rokupa Hospitals relating to negligence and misconduct of health workers that led to death of patients adding that these situations are not peculiar to the aforementioned facilities but also prevalent across health care centres in the district. He stressed the significance of ethics and maintenance of a positive attitude to work by DHMT staff in discharging their functions and warned them to conform to dictates of the law or face the wrath of the ACC. He also encouraged senior management to internalize the fight by making the Integrity Management Committee functional and operational and to also take the lead in supervising the activities of PHUs in the district.

Earlier welcoming the ACC Team, District Medical Officer, Dr Mamoud Idriss Kamara lauded the initiative to engage and educate their staff on corruption issues and to also guide their conduct in the process of delivering health care services. He promised to be supportive of the fight against corruption and to ensure that anti-corruption messages are cascaded to every staff of the district. District Health Sister, Fatmata Bayoh also expressed similar sentiment of support to the ACC and called on the commission to increase public education engagement with the sector and to intensify effective collaboration between the two institutions.

Chief of Staff of DICOVERC-Port Loko, Dr Songor Koedoyoma described the ACC as a key partner in development and also appreciated the move by the commission to engage them and to also keep them on their toes. He pointed out that when public officers lose sight of accounting for their stewardship, then they are not fit to serve whilst emphasizing the importance of maintaining accountability measures in every public institution in the country.

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