By Joseph Milton Lebbie………………………………..
The District Medical Officer (DMO), Kenema, Dr. Mohamed Vandi, has expressed the fear that the nationwide expulsion of State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHN) volunteers from health facilities bears the highest potential to adversely affect health service delivery if urgent measures are not put in place to replace the expelled volunteer nurses.
He was speaking during an exclusive interview with Global Times in his office in Kenema.
Dr. Vandi noted that the decision of the Health Ministry to drive away the volunteer nurses on the grounds of indiscipline and other forms of lawlessness is a step in the right direction as it will help to sanitize the Health Ministry and protect the name and image of the medical profession, but that such mass expulsion of volunteer nurses will definitely create a human resource gap that may be difficult to fill.
He stressed that many health facilities are already under-staffed even with the presence of the volunteer nurses.
The District Medical Officer pointed out that the expelled volunteer nurses were of tremendous help to Peripheral Health Units and other health facilities in especially Kenema District where many risked their precious and irreplaceable lives to serve as frontline workers during the battle to eradicate the dreaded Ebola virus. Many, he said, lost their lives in the process.
Dr. Vandi furthered that he is very much aware that the Health Ministry does not encourage volunteers but called on the Ministry to take cognizance of the fact that a considerable percentage of health workers in the country are volunteers, citing example that in his district, 99% of the vaccinators, Traditional Birth Attendants and porters are volunteers but playing crucial roles in health service delivery.
He admitted that among every set of people there are bad eggs but at the same time there must be the good eggs, continuing that there are some nurses who are actually bad examples who must be weeded out.
The District Medical Officer concluded by expressing optimism that one day the Health Ministry may reconsider its decision and bring back on board those that are fit to be medical practitioners.