TAPPITA, Nimba – The chief medical officer of the Jackson F. Doe Hospital, Dr. James Sobboh, has raised the alarm about growing financial constraints with the hospital’s operations.
Sobboh said the budget allocated for the hospital’s operations is inadequate, and this has been negatively impacting its operations.
“I am going to try to paint an actual picture—it’s difficult,” he said. He said while the disclosure would discourage his workforce and the public, the said it was necessary to highlight the financial struggles the facility was facing.
The hospital received US$2.79 million in the 2017/2018 budget, but Sobboh said that amount is not adequate for the hospital, although he said he understands that the limited revenue generation capacity of the government is a major hindrance to increasing the hospital’s budget.
Sobboh said he was still trying to convince the government of the need to increase the hospital’s budget.
“I have been trying to engage and meet with the deputy minister responsible for budget to see how they can increase our budget,” he said. “I’ve met with some of her assistants over and over, trying to convince them to increase our budget.”
He said the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has so far agreed to increase the hospital’s budget, especially in the area of staff compensation and other benefits. Additionally, Sobboh said he had also started lobbying with Rep. Dorwon Gleekia, in whose district the hospital is located, to support increasing the hospital’s budget when the legislature starts negotiations on the budget.
President George Weah has already submitted the draft 2018/2019 budget to the legislature; however, the specific details have not been released to the public, but a document released by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning noted that US$400,000 would be allocated to “improving delivery of medical services” at the hospital. The document was not explicit about whether this was in addition to the regular budget of the hospital or whether this was the hospital’s total budget. The former option seems more likely.
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah