Health Minister axed; …returns to State House
State House announced on Friday (29 August) that the beleaguered Minister of Health and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo, has been relieved of her duties with her replacement being her deputy, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah.
According to State House, the decision to relieve the former Health Minister from her post was “in order to create a conducive environment for more efficient and effective handling of the Ebola outbreak in the country”.
The outbreak, according to Ministry of Health data published on the 29 August, has killed 377 persons in the country, with more than a thousand infected by the deadly virus.
Ms. Kargbo’s axing did not come as a surprise to many, who say it comes a little too late, as calls for President Ernest Bai Koroma to drop her from cabinet had reached a crescendo.
Sierra Leoneans have been angered by what they say was her abysmal failure to prevent the disease from spreading over from neighbouring Guinea, despite assurances by her that the country was better prepared than any in the sub-region to stop the virus in its track.
The decision to axe the minister was prompted by the seeming lack of political leadership in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
“Miatta Kargbo has been recalled to State House to serve in the Strategic Policy Unit until further notice,” the release said.
The newly appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, will be assisted by Mr. Foday Sawi and Ms. Madina Rahman. Both Fofanah and Rahman require parliamentary approval.
Meanwhile, the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Ebola Response Platform has co-opted the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), while the reconstituted Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be co-chaired by the WHO representative and the CMO.
Also, erstwhile Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Stephen Gaojia, is now the Operations Coordinator at the EOC.