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Saturday, July 20, 2024

DIRECTOR-GENERAL JANE MACAULEY STEPS DOWN FROM NPHIL AMID ALLEGATIONS OF GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Madam Jane A. MaCauley, the Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), has announced her immediate resignation amidst rising tensions and allegations of disrespect from senior Health Ministry authorities. In a detailed letter dated June 27, 2024, addressed to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, MaCauley outlined the systemic challenges and unprofessionalism that led to her decision.

MaCauley’s resignation letter expressed her deep disappointment with recent developments at NPHIL, which have persisted despite her efforts to collaborate with the newly appointed board of directors and uphold NPHIL’s mandate to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. Highlighting the lack of operational funding from the Government of Liberia for three consecutive years, MaCauley underscored the financial difficulties faced by NPHIL. She noted that the institute has managed to maintain essential services and achievements through grants, projects, and partner support, despite the government’s failure to contribute to operational expenses.

The letter detailed specific incidents contributing to a toxic and hostile working environment, including an unplanned board meeting during her leave period and rumors about her impending removal as Director-General. MaCauley cited unprofessional conduct by the Board Chair and the Minister of Health, which hindered her ability to fulfill her responsibilities effectively. She also mentioned the Chair’s remarks that highlighted personal issues the Minister of Health had with her and the grand plan to dissolve NPHIL’s autonomy.

During her tenure, MaCauley emphasized the significant achievements of NPHIL, including maintaining an active surveillance system that reduced the impact of COVID-19 in Liberia, earning recognition as a center of excellence by the Africa Center for Disease Control, and facilitating peer reviews by three other African countries. She credited these successes to the support from development partners such as the United States Centers for Disease Control, the World Bank, and PREVAIL.

MaCauley concluded her letter by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve Liberia, acknowledging the support of her professional colleagues, family, and friends. She expressed hope that NPHIL would continue to uphold the standards of excellence achieved during her leadership. Her resignation, effective immediately, was prompted by irreconcilable differences, lack of cooperation, and alleged disrespect from senior Health Ministry authorities. MaCauley wished President Boakai the best in his efforts to serve Liberia with dignity.

The news of MaCauley’s resignation has sent shockwaves through the public health community in the country. Many colleagues and health professionals have expressed their concerns about the potential impact on NPHIL’s ongoing projects and the morale of its staff. The abrupt leadership change could disrupt the institute’s operations, particularly at a time when public health threats continue to evolve and require vigilant management.

Senior officials within the Ministry of Health have yet to issue a formal response to MaCauley’s resignation and the allegations raised in her letter. However, insiders suggest that an internal review may be initiated to address the concerns and restore stability within NPHIL. The Ministry of Health’s response will be closely watched by stakeholders and international partners who have invested significantly in Liberia’s public health infrastructure.

Public reaction on social media to the resignation has been mixed. While some view MaCauley’s departure as a significant loss to the nation’s health sector, others believe it presents an opportunity for new leadership and potential reforms within NPHIL. Civil society organizations have called for transparency and accountability in the selection of the new Director-General to ensure continuity and stability in the institute’s critical work.

MaCauley’s tenure was marked by numerous challenges, including navigating the institution through the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing various public health threats with limited resources. Her leadership was instrumental in positioning NPHIL as a leading public health institute in Africa, earning accolades and recognition for its achievements. The resilience demonstrated by MaCauley and her team has set a high standard for future leadership to uphold.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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