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Health News of Saturday, 19 November 2011

Source: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

Press Statement By The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

To Clarify Some Recent Media Allegations On Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ Obst. & Gynae Conference Room

Members of the Hospital Board,
Directors of the Hospital,
Members of Staff,
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning to you all and thank you for honouring the Hospital’s invitation to this press conference. For some time now, Korle Bu has come under a barrage of media attacks following the non-confirmation of the appointment of the Director of Administration.

The Board and Management deem today’s gathering as an opportunity to clarify the various issues and the fallouts following the decision not to confirm the Director of Administration’s appointment. It is also an opportunity for our friends from the media to ask any questions surrounding the issues so that these can be put to rest permanently. In our attempt to clarify issues, we are mindful of the fact that many of the issues are before the law courts and we will be careful not to make any prejudicial comments. We would also urge same of all of you.
BACKGROUND
Ladies and gentlemen, for a clear understanding of the issues at stake, it is imperative to give a background to put them in context. In May, 2010 the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Board appointed five Directors subject to a year’s probation. About seven months into the probation period, the Board requested, and the Directors submitted appraisals of their performance prior to their confirmation. The Director of Administration’s performance was found unsatisfactory and his appointment was consequently revoked on 2nd September, 2011.
On Monday 5th September, 2011, the Director of Administration, Mr. Nelson Menorkpor issued a Writ in the High Court, Accra challenging the Board’s decision. Soon after this, he also filed another suit challenging the legality of the Board Chairman’s appointment. He contended that the Board Chairman was an employee of the Hospital and could therefore not be appointed as Chairman of the Board. These matters are before the High Court and we will not comment on them here.

Mr. Menorkpor, again filed two motions in the High Court. The first was a motion for an injunction to restrain the Board from interfering with his work as a Director of Administration. The second Motion was to restrain the Board Chairman from continuing in office pending the determination of the suit. These applications have both been dismissed by the High Courts in Accra. The Motion to restrain the Hospital from interfering with his work as Director of Administration was dismissed on 4th November, 2011. The Hospital has received notice of an intention to appeal against the Court’s ruling.
Pursuant to the Court ruling, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) wrote to the Director of Administration to hand over his office to the Deputy Director of Administration to ensure a smooth running of the Hospital pending the final determination of the suit.

The Director of Administration consistently refused to comply with this directive as he kept coming to the office, using the office, coming in at odd times, and even insisting on participating in Management meetings.
This compelled the Hospital Management to change the locks to his office in order to get him to comply with the Administrative directive pursuant to the Court’s ruling.

In order to ensure the safety and security of hospital property, Management further decided to regulate the use of hospital facilities in the Administration Block by directing all staff in the Block to keep within the normal working hours.
MEETING WITH MADAM STELLA QUAYE (BOARD MEMBER)
On Friday, November 11, 2011, it came to the Hospital’s attention during Joy FM’s midday news that a member of the Hospital’s Board of Directors was on their way to Korle Bu to demand the keys to the office of the Director of Administration from the Chief Executive. At that time the CEO was in a scheduled meeting with some Directors and staff in his office.
In the course of the meeting, the CEO was informed by his Secretary that a member of the Board and some other persons had arrived unexpectedly and wanted to meet with him. After a few minutes, the CEO invited the Board Member, Madam Stella Quaye, to his office and enquired of her mission.
It is worth stating at this juncture that she had been fidgeting with her mobile once she sat down in the CEO’s office. She started talking about several calls she had received about some decisions taken in the Hospital that as a Board member she felt there had been no such approval by the Board. The CEO asked her to clarify exactly which decision she was referring to. She mentioned that the Director of Administration, Mr. Nelson Menorkpor had been locked out of his office and added that the decision to carry out such a lockout had been taken without the Board’s knowledge.
The CEO then explained that Management took that action pursuant to an order of the High Court which dismissed the motion by Mr. Menorkpor to restrainthe Board from interfering with his work as Director of Administration.
Following the High Courts ruling, Management wrote an administrative letter to Mr. Menoprkpor asking him to hand over his duties to his deputy. Mr. Menoprkpor refused.
Management then had the Director of Administration’s office locked since it was obvious he was not ready to comply with the directive.
Madam Quaye then informed the CEO that she had come to collect the keys to unlock the office. When the CEO declined her request, she went out of the CEO’s office and started yelling, “I’m bring the media people”.
As she proceeded to the outer secretariat, in an effort to bring in the media personnel, the CEO and his two Directors (CEO, DMA and DOF) remained in CEO’s office.
ALLEGED ATTACK ON THE PRESS
Ladies and Gentlemen, I will crave your indulgence to listen attentively because this particular encounter has been hugely misrepresented in some media reports. The directive by Madam Quaye to the press she had come with to come into the CEO’s office was in total disregard for the protocol in the CEO’s Secretariat. Under normal circumstances, the secretaries would have to invite guests who are to meet the CEO. The posture of confrontation and the sidestepping of the laid down procedures by Madam Quaye made the CEO’s Secretaries and Security detail refused the other person entry into the CEO’s office as is the practice.

However, one press man and Madam Quaye insisted they were going to enter the CEO’s office while the Security and the Secretaries also insisted they would not allow them in. This led to heated verbal exchanges while the two Directors and the CEO remained in the CEO’s office.

In the midst of the force being applied by Madam Quaye and the press, the CEO’s security detail thus called the Hospital Security for reinforcement to escort the press man out of the CEO’s Secretariat. The Korle Bu Police Commander was also called in immediately.
Madam Quaye declined an invitation to return to the CEO’s office for an amicable resolution of the matter with her colleague Directors and instead requested that her hand bag and cover cloth be returned to her from the CEO’s office.
The Hospital Security then came in and escorted Madam Quaye and the gentleman out amid fierce resistance from the media man.
The Head of Security and the Police Commander later briefed CEO of what had transpired after they escorted them out of his office.
The Police Commander informed the Hospital Management that on (Thursday, November 10, 2011) a day before the incident in the CEO’s Office, he had met Madam Quaye and a media person (Mr. Henry Addo of Metro TV) and they had informed him of their intention to come and force open the locked door and he had advised them that such an action would be unlawful.
Ladies and gentlemen, shortly after the incident, there were reports in the media notably Metro TV that Mr. Addo had been kicked and dragged out of the Hospital. This was totally false since no physical attack or harm was visited on anyone before, during and after the incident. The Hospital security were merely doing their job of escorting out unsolicited persons.
Korle Bu has always maintained a cordial relationship with the media and would be the last organization to organize for the manhandling of any journalist or member of the press. We still operate an open-door policy and journalists are welcome to the Hospital for any information.
OTHER ALLEGATIONS
• Charges of Corruption in Importation
On the Breakfast show programme of ETV, panelists on the Show on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 made scathing, libelous but groundless allegations of corruption against the Chief Executive and the Board Chairman. The allegation was to the effect that the Chief Executive had imported some items under the aegis of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and then diverted them to his private clinic. We want to state that this is totally false and libelous.

This is a concocted story calculated to damage the hard-earned reputation of both the CEO and the Board Chairman and we challenge ETV and the panelists on its breakfast show of November 15, to provide evidence for this or they should retract and apologise accordingly or face legal action.

• Dismissal of Mr. Jerome Asigri
On the same Show, ETV reported that the Chief Executive and the Hospital Management had dismissed Mr. Jerome Asigri, a former head of the Hospital Security Unit because he had disobeyed instructions not to search some cars that were going out of the Hospital.
Mr Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen, this is a ridiculous charge because the Hospital has a policy that requires the Security to mount random checks on all cars going out of its premises. It is, therefore, unimaginable that Management would be accused of dismissing a security head for carrying out a directive from Management. In fact, there are many instances where members of Management, including the CEO have submitted themselves to the random checks by the Security.
It is important to state the facts on this allegation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Asigri was the Head of Security in the Hospital until he was transferred to the Ghana Health Service in 2007. This was one clear year before the current Chief Executive was appointed during the term of the previous Board and not the current Board. Mr. Asigri was, therefore, not dismissed but transferred and that was even before the current CEO assumed office.

• Financial under-performance
One of the allegations being leveled against the Hospital was that it was under-performing financially. The facts we have, however, contradict this charge. Since the current Board assumed office in 2009, prudent financial management practices have been put in place to enable the Hospital mobilise more revenue. Available evidence (The table below) shows the Hospital’s Internally Generated Funds (IGF) levels in the periods 2008– 2010 under the current management team.
YEAR IGF
2008 GH? 12,444,477.47
2009 GH? 16,530,694.24
2010 GH? 26,205,391.63
We believe that the accusations of financial under-performance was made because our accusers did not take the time to find out how the Hospital was performing in terms of internal resource mobilization and were just interested in painting us black.
As far as Management of the Hospital is concerned, we are working assiduously to ensure that Korle Bu continues to be the hub of tertiary healthcare delivery in Ghana and the West African sub-region. Management is unaware of any misappropriation or corruption, looting and therefore welcomes any audit which would be set up to investigate our activities.
CONCLUSION
We wish to assure our stakeholders and the general public that the Hospital authorities are committed to our core function of providing affordable healthcare of the highest quality and tertiary care to patients across the country. In spite of the various attempts to divert our focus; we are committed to continue on this path.
There is no tension in the Hospital as is being speculated in parts of the media and patients, visitors and staff of the Hospital are going about their normal duties without let or hindrance from any quarters.

Thank you for your attention.