Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Public Hospitals Fail to Submit Reports to Assembly Select Committee

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By Kebba Secka

 All the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and finance directors of the country’s public hospitals have confirmed to the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Refugees, Women and Children their deficiency in fulfilling their requirements to submit their financial and activity reports of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

On Tuesday January 26th, the committee summoned all the health officials under the same line ministry to enquire from them about their constraint in submitting their activity and financial reports for the years under review.

According to the CEO of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, Professor Ousman Nyang, the country’s main referral hospital “falls short in terms of compliance with submission of financial and activity reports.”

The reason advanced for the incompliant was due to lack of Finance Director and software for the institution to update and prepare the financial reports of the hospital.

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“I’m sad to report that there is backlog of unaudited reports. We visited National Audit Office and the national assembly to explain the situation at the hospital. The software was not really functional for one to do the updating,” said Prof Nyang.

Nyang confirmed that none of the reports of the years under review was completed for final submission although National Audit Office was engaged for the exercise.

Dr. Cham, the CEO of Bwiam Hospital in the West Coast Region, said they last audited their accounts in 2016.

“When I assumed office in 2019, I wrote to the Ministry requesting for the accounts of the hospital to be audited so that I can start with a clean sheet for 2017, 2018 and 2019,” said the CEO.

He said he raised the hospital’s different concerns, including absence of software with the permanent secretary (PS) as the chairman of the public hospitals’ association.

He said after he did that, the PS received the concerns and wrote an email instructing the director of health services ‘to gather all the concerns to address them, ‘but to our dismay nothing had happened,’ he told the committee.

Kanifing General Hospital CEO, Kebba Manneh, said his institution is no exception to the backlog of unaudited accounts, saying 2010 to 2015 is currently being re-audited alongside with 2016 to 2019 by the auditors.

The National Audit Office representative, Pa jange Ndow, said the reason for re-auditing was due to the institution’s lack of software during that period.

Bansang CEO, Dr. Baba Jeng said auditing on the 2018 and 2019 accounts are completed and the queries raised by the auditors have been responded to.

For Sheikh Zayid Eye Care Hospital, CEO Abba Hydara, said the institution is a government subvented body. He said since the inception of the hospital, it has never had a complete audited account for the submission of its financial and activity reports to national assembly.

The reaction of the auditors on this matter was to commence auditing from the inception of the hospital.

This scenario was the same for the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA). The institution’s head said their accounts were not audited since its inception which was as a result of the numerous changes of managements.

FSQS said the national audit office at some point asked them to hire external auditors but later changed their position and said they will be auditing the accounts. This held them back otherwise they would have completed the auditing of accounts for the years under review, the head said.

The following hospitals, Edward Francis Small Teaching, Kanifing, Bundung Maternal and Children’s, Buiam Hospital, Bansang Hospital, Farafenni General Hospital and Sheikh Zayid Eye Care Hospital were represented by top officials.

Also in attendance were National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) and Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA).

The chairman of the committee gave chance to each of the stakeholders to outline their different institutional challenges hindering the submission of their activity reports.

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