“Govt Must Probe the Beating of Doctor Cole,” Urges Health Reporters Network-Sierra Leone

By a press release (16/04/2021)

The beating of a medical doctor at work at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown this week has further damaged the tattered image of the SLPP govt.

There are hues and cries everywhere at the moment. Adding their voice to this shameful episode are the members of the Health Reporters Network-Sierra Leone HRN-SL who have raised serious concerns about the unfortunate incident on Tuesday, April 13 when Dr Catherine Jackson Cole was beaten for simply highlighting the uncollected rubbish littering the compound of the hospital. She was manhandled by police officers as well as senior health officials. (Photo: Dr Catherine Cole shortly after she was beaten). A press statement by HRN-SL dated April 14, 2021, is as follows –

Government of Sierra Leone Should Urgently Investigate the Connaught Hospital Incident

The Health Reporters Network-Sierra Leone HRN-SL is seriously concerned and dismayed over the unfortunate incident that took place at the Connaught hospital leading to the molestation and wounding of Dr Jackson on Tuesday 13th April 2021. We note with displeasure the manner in which officials from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation handled the ongoing strike action by cleaners that led to the molestation of Dr Jackson in the view of colleague doctors, patients, and staff of the hospital. (Photo; Dr Cole wounded).

We are particularly shocked by the incident involving high-ranking members of the ministry including the Deputy Minister, the Permanent Secretary, and the Chief Medical officer. As Health Reporters, we condemn such acts of violence meted out on the female doctor who continues to make sacrifices under serious odd conditions in the hospital.  This is a complete breach of her human rights and this act of violence is unacceptable in the 21st century.

We call for an independent investigation into the incident, as such conduct from officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation amounts to gender-based violence and human cruelty. While we believed that medical doctors are supposed to uphold high standards and channel grievances to appropriate authorities, we also note the lapses within the Connaught Hospital when it comes to sanitation and hospital management.

We are calling on the government of Sierra Leone and the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to take appropriate action on this incident. It is our belief that government officials, especially senior officials are expected to uphold the highest standard in the exercise of their functions.

Courtesy of The Organizer 16th April 2021

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