SOLOMON Islands Medical Association (SIMA) President Dr. Claude Posala says mal-administration and corruption are evident during the State of Public Emergency within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and nothing has been done to address these matters.
Dr. Posala revealed this when he appeared before the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) on Monday to deliberate on the Public Health and Emergency Bill 2021.
He said during emergencies a special body should be set up for people or officers who wanted to raise issues of mal-administration and corrupt practices to report to.
“…whatever complain or issues of mal-administration and corruption practices can be directed to them for investigation and further actions,” Dr. Posala said.
He said SIMA did not see a process or instruction and pathway in this Bill which points to such direction.
Dr. Posala, an eye specialist, was terminated last year by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) after revealing issues of malpractices within the ministry during the State of Public Emergency (SoPE).
At that time, he posted on his Facebook page that some people were trying to sell the Personal Protected Equipment (PPE) to a hospital in one of the provinces knowing very well that the equipment are government owned properties.
Dr. Posala said instead the ministry and the government issued a press statement stating that Dr. Posala lied.
He then told the committee on Monday that towards the end of last year 92 Chinese nationals before repatriation got swabbed and tested at a private practice on a Saturday.
“Now if I could have posted that on social media, the Minister for Health would again say the doctor lied,” Dr. Posala said.
He told the committee that a lot of things are happening and although reported, nothing happened because there are individuals higher up in the executive of the Ministry of Health who are doing these things.
“These people are using swabs which are government property and paid the service to the private practice but they stopped because someone caught up with them in the National Referral Hospital.
“And today these officers who are doing such corrupt practice still working without getting axed and this happened during the emergency regulations and to me if this Bill is going into the same direction it is worrying,” Dr Posala said.
Dr. Posala made these revelations when speaking on Freedom of Speech and Human Rights during emergency.
He said the Bill had good intent but the person with power over the Bill must “do it with clear conscience and must have positive perspective of criticisms”.
Therefore, he said there is need to fine tune the Bill so that it also provided proper avenue for people to raise issues or complaints to during an emergency period.
By ANDREW FANASIA