Bong County Flag
Acute Financial Crisis At Bong Mines Hospital, Says DHO
FUAMAH, BONG COUNTY, October 27 (LINA) - A serious financial crisis has hit the Bong Mines Hospital, the only referral hospital located in the Bong mining town in Fuamah District, lower Bong County.
This, according to Fuamah District Health Officer (DHO) Francis Kollie, has rendered the hospital incapable of offering essential medical services to over 40,000 residents,
In June 2016, China Union, a Chinese-run iron ore mining company, turned over the hospital to the Liberian government after almost three years of operation, owing to global drop in the price of iron ore.
The hospital was built by the former Bong Mining Company (BMC), but was taken over by China Union as part of a 25-year Mineral Development Agreement signed in 2009.
The hospital was one of the company's Corporate Social responsibilities.
The 100-bedroom hospital is now faced with several challenges, including lack of medical drugs, electricity, doctors, poor sewerage system as well as the failure of government to pay staff salaries for nearly four months now.
Fuamah DHO Kollie said if nothing is done to address the challenges facing the only health facility in the remote region, it could face closure.
“The entire health system here is broken down, when China Union was turning the hospital there was no budget and for four months now the hospital staff have not taken pay,” DHO Kollie noted.
“For four months now, workers have not taken pay, and there is no fuel to run the generator, no drugs, among other challenges," Kollie emphasized.
He added: “The last few gallons of fuel oil would have been exhausted the very day I toured the hospital. With the small fund generated from lobbying with health officials in Monrovia, the hospital now only has electricity for six hours instead of 24 hours.”
“This cannot go for too long. Sooner or later, it will operate in darkness. Currently, the facility uses 40 gallons to run 21 hours a day. At the market price of US$3.10 a gallon, this means, the hospital needs US$124.00 a day to purchase only fuel or $3,720 a month," Kollie lamented.
He said when the hospital was operated by China Union, services were provided for fees, which disallowed many people, especially low-income earners, from seeking medical services at the facility.
But with government taking over and promising free healthcare services, as part of the government’s resilient healthcare program, the patient load has increased from around 30 daily to 120 for the outpatient department.
This increase in number of patients has outstretched the capacity of the hospital and limited resources have constrained the hospital from fully operating, he noted.
He stressed that the departure of China Union from the hospital has now put the operation of the facility at a cross-roads, as there is no allotment in the 2016/2017 budget for its operation.