Dr. Alpha Wurie, Minister of Health and Saniation Sierra Leone
Reports reaching this medium state that the top echelon in the Office of National Aids Control Programme (NACP), has allegedly terminated the services of long serving staff of the programme without the knowledge of the Minister of Health and his deputy, management of the Ministry and the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat. This rather unilateral decision has raised eyebrows as to whether they have the authority to do so.
According to reports, the Acting Programme Manager of NACP, Dr. Mariama J.S. Murray is alleged to have terminated the services of Rugiatu Bangura, Isatu Jalloh, Joshua Bangura, Joyce Momoh and others who are VCCT Counselors for pursuing further studies in the health profession without notifying management, according to the termination letters.
Many have commented that the dismissal of staff that have served NACP for over ten years has the tendency to derail gains made in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The report furthered that the decision was influenced by the advised of the National Coordinator of the VCCT Unit, Mrs. Mariama Marco Conteh.
Staff who spoke on the issue alleged that one Saffie Kanu is currently pursuing an SRN program in Freetown, whilst working as Counselor in Magburaka.
She is said to have abandoned her post for over a year to study in Freetown, but is still in the employment.
According to our investigation, the aforementioned dismissed staff are not the only first set of NACP staff that are enrolled in a tertiary institution to pursue higher education. It was discovered that even the very VCCT Coordinator, Mariama Marco Conteh, Aminata Sheriff and many others that have recently completed degree courses at University of Makeni (UNIMAK), were working at NACP and should be based in Freetown, but were in Makeni taking their respective courses.
Meanwhile, the sacked staff are appealing to the Minister and management of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Director General and his deputy at National HIV/AIDS Secretariat (NAS) and the Ombudsman to intervene and salvage the ugly development at NACP, which has the tendency to affect the gains being made in the fight against the disease and donor confidence.