A ‘Thank You’ to the Minister of Health [Archives:2001/28/Viewpoint]

July 9 2001

I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Dr. Abdulnasser Munaibari for his swift and timely action as a sequel to the interview with Dr. Shukri published last week. The Minister ordered an immediate investigation into the case and made field visits to hospitals and public health service providers to assess the service quality offered to the public. He made a number of changes in the rank and tile of the administrative hierarchy who were at least partially responsible for those flaws.
This actually reflects a sense of responsibility on the part of the minister in discharge of his duties to purge the cadres that had been crippled due to negligence and corruption of certain individuals or groups that used their offices to rob the public.
Unfortunately we are living in a period in which people are swept by materialistic thoughts and ideas. People seem to be obsessed with how to gain more money and fame overnight. However, those ideas cannot grow and flourish if the government is actually determined to change this phenomenon. The horrible stories that came to light through the interview of last week revealed that medical personnel and paramedical staff have made gross deviations from their noble mission of healing people.
While again thanking the minister, I would also like to draw his kind attention to the cases revealed last week which are only tip of a gloomy iceberg in the health sector in Yemen. I request that he visits the public hospitals one by one and get feedback from the employees before he meets the managers. There is evidence to suggest that managers tend to give a false image of the ground realities. For example, we very often hear about outrageous acts of managers who quash the legitimate rights and privileges of employees. An example of that is the Jumhuri Hospital in Sanaa. Other examples relate to the latest scandal of the Thawrah hospital, in which $2,000 were taken from each of the patients for open-heart surgeries without any justification because the operations were supposed to be all free of charge and carried by a voluntary European medical team of surgeons.
Any way, I certainly don’t want to overburden the minister who had only started his post only recently, but I want to point out that there is yet a lot to do. Corruption needs to be rooted out.
Mr. Munaibari, you have a lot to accomplish and I wish you all the best. Please remember that we will be with you all along as long as you are committed to uprooting the prevalent trend of corruption and abuse of power.