By Kebba Secka
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health, on Thursday July 12th, received the activity and financial reports of institutions under its watchdog. The board members of the National Pharmacy Council, Medicines Control Agency, Nurses and Midwifes Council, were the latest to appear before the Select Committee on Health, to present their activity reports.
After close scrutiny of their reports, the Select Committee on Health realized that some areas need to be adjusted with additional information. This was communicated to the institutions in formal writing. The institutions were tasked to provide valuable additional information that would help the committee have a better comprehension of their activity reports. Ousman Sillah, the Chairperson of the Committee said their actions towards institutions is not a witch-hunting exercise but a fulfilment of their mandates as National Assembly Members and helping institutions to be more efficient and effective in their service delivery; that it is the only way we can have the type of health care envisaged for all Gambians.
On the side of the Nurses and Midwifery Council, he said governance, operational oversight, plans and reports, functions and future plans of the Council, are some of the areas the select committee on health feels need to provide additional information; that they are urged to prepare financial statements and submit them to the select committee for scrutiny, in due course. The Select Committee Chairperson explained that since the financial activity reports of the Councils are to be looked at, there would be the need for Council members to appear before the committee with the Auditor General and Gambia Public Procurement Agency (GPPA). According to the Chairperson, the Councils must appear with the Auditor General and GPPA, to guide them comprehensively on how the institutions’ funds are managed and audited.
The Registrar of the Nurses and Midwifery Council Mafugi Bojang, was quick to raise concern of the Council’s lack of financial directors, prior to 2015 and sought advice and guidance from the committee on whether the financial report must cover the period when Council did not have a finance manager.
”When I took over as the Council’s registrar in 2015, there was no finance manager. Instead, the Council administrative manager was the overseer of the financial aspect of the Council,” he said. Responding to his claims, the committee on health reminded him that in the form to be filled by them, there is a section called ‘Challenges’ and he is urged them to write their complaints under that section.