By Laurina B. Lormia
In Gbonota Town, Bong County, some health workers are demanding justice for their colleague, Allison Kollie, a health worker who was brutalized by some men, identify only as supporters of Representative Josiah Marvin Cole of District 3, Bong County.
According to the health workers, on November 4, 2023, at the clinic in Gbonota, a little town in Bong County, located in the legislative district of the law maker, Allison Kollie was violently attacked by a group of men.
Allison, has been described by his colleague as a cheerful and dedicated health care practitioner.
Obadiah Kermue, one of the health workers, presenting a petition of appeal, said, “We condemn all forms of attacks on health workers in Gbonota Clinic and elsewhere, and call on the public to denounce such violence and insist on a safer environment for health workers. We are deeply disturbed by the violent assault on our colleague, a health worker in the Gbonota Clinic, by Rep. Cole’s supporters.”
“If the Ministry of Justice and authorities of the County fail to come up with findings from the investigation on or before November 15, we have resolved to abandon our various places of work,” Kermue stressed.
Furthermore, the petition demands respect and recognition for health workers across the country, as well as a safe working environment, free of all violence.
It also claims that violence against healthcare workers not only endangers the lives of those who are on the front line, of the healthcare system, but it also undermines the provision of critical medical services in the region.
“It’s very important that we send a very strong message that violence against healthcare workers and other peaceful people. It’s not, and should not, be tolerated in our society,” Kermue said, as he read the petition.
The petition added that if the perpetrators of the assault are not brought to book, and adequate security protection is provided for all health workers, they will be forced to cease work until otherwise motivated.
The incident, Kermue added, has sent shockwaves throughout the healthcare community and is igniting a wave of anger, raising serious concerns about the safety and well-being of healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to provide essential services in the county.
Receiving the petition, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, pledged that the government would prioritize the case and work diligently to ensure that justice is served promptly.
Jallah, who was joined by other senior local officials, informed the protesting health workers that investigations would take place with appropriate action taken against those found responsible, but called on them to remain calm and allow the Liberia National Police to do its work.
“Your colleague, Alison Kollie, is responding to treatment at JFK and is responding well,” the Minister said. “I visited him and all the tests that were supposed to be done have already been done.”
According to Jallah, Vice president Jewel Howard-Taylor and other authorities of the government would be meeting them today to begin looking to address some of their pressing concerns.
Meanwhile, the Police in Bong has disclosed that the investigation into the incident has begun, and would make the findings public, saying “anyone who will be held culpable would face the full weight of the law.”
They concluded that Cole has not yet responded to the allegations, and it is yet unclear if he will collaborate during the investigations. The lawmaker is one of the most powerful and untouchable men in Bong and in times past, has been accused of ordering the beating of local residents.