By Ramatoulie Jawo
Karamba Keita, Deputy Permanent Secretary technical, Ministry of Health said the the suspension of of Public and Environmental Health Officers put the public at risk and appealed to concerned authorities to rescind the suspension.
“If this suspension has to continue, we are putting the general public at high risk. So I’m still appealing to the PMO and Public Service Commission to rescind the suspension of the public health officers,” he stressed.
He explained that the 2 months suspension without pay handed to the discipline is affecting the country’s health sector.
The DPS said looking at the Covid-19 vaccination, they have administered the first round of vaccines and they are left with the second round, but the vaccines are almost expired.
“What we are facing right now is that the vaccines are about to expire and this is something the country has to look at, because the vaccines were given to us free. And it cost those people millions of Dollars.
“The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization are currently threatening the country that if these vaccines go expired, the country will face the penalties,” Keita said.
He continued that the country should pray not to experience a single childhood disease outbreak at the moment.
“Because if that happens it will be a problem and the children are the most vulnerable in the country,” he warned.
The DPS Keita said the public and environmental health is a profession which cannot be replaced.
“Even if the Ministry of Health wants to replace the Public Health Officers at this moment, let me tell you, it will not be organized,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Public Service Commission, Abdoulie Jafuneh and his counterpart at the Personnel Management Office, Lamin F. Jawara said the suspension of the 371 Public Health Officers was made because they want disciplinary control in the civil service.
PS Jarawa said the two months suspension without salary is even small, and said to him alone, they should have given them more.
“Because you can’t claim for an allowance, which the government have not approved for you. If it was an existing allowance that they are denied, that would have been better,” he said.
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health with the Ministry of Health, Personnel Management Office and the Public Service Commission on Thursday continued their discussion on the suspension of the 371 Public and Environmental Health Officers.
The professionals are handed 2 months suspension without pay over an industrial action they embarked on, which the government labelled as “unauthorised absence”.