By Dr. Thuou Loi
OPINION – Recently the Hon Minister for Health Elizabeth Acuei Yol issued a ministerial decree transferring senior staff of the Ministry of Health from different directorates and departments within the Ministry of Health and Juba Teaching Hospital. In principle there is no problem with transfer, provided that it is scientifically justified and mandatory.
The recent transfer signed by Hon Elizabeth Acuei was a work of some few individuals within the Ministry of Health who found themselves as close advisors to the Hon Minister, unfortunately they have been wrongly advising the Hon Minister who is very innocent by all accounts. Those advisors have been and are still wrongly advising Hon Elizabeth as I will demonstrate in this piece that I opted to make public for the lack of forum where such critical matters would have been discussed and settled in a scientific manner with tangible rationale.
I opted to make this issue public to also clear my name as those wrong advisors who, cowardly opted to talk behind the curtains, are displaying me as this arrogant person who is disobedient. I must say that there is no way that those wrong advisors can question my loyalty to this country that I love and to the health sector that I am determined to contribute to wholeheartedly in improving it.
Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial is a General Surgeon who graduated from the University of Juba and specialized in Surgery in the University of Khartoum. Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial is my senior colleague who completed medical school in 1993, when I was in the third year of medical school. Dr. Isaac Cleto has been teaching and practicing surgery since then up to now. He is an associate professor of surgery.
As the Director General of Juba Teaching Hospital, Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial has been providing specialized surgical services and teaching students of medicine in the hospital in addition to his administrative role as the Director General. That is in brief Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial who is being asked by the advisors of Hon Elizabeth Acuei to leave the hospital and come to the Ministry of Health as a planner, leaving his vital role as a teacher of surgery for the next generation of South Sudanese doctors. According to the advisors of Hon Elizabeth Acuei, Dr. Thuou Loi should take over from Dr. Isaac Cleto. Who is Dr. Thuou Loi medically speaking???
Dr. Thuou Loi is a graduate of Juba University in 1996; he studied Tropical Medicine and International Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London. He also has certificate in Health Economics from Johns Hopkins in USA and a certificate in leadership from Kenya School of Government. Dr. Loi has worked for three International NGOs namely Care International, Medicine San Frontiers and Christian Mission Aid in Unity, Warrap and Jonglei States respectively.
When the Government of Southern Sudan was established, Dr. Loi left Christian Mission Aid and joined the Ministry of Health where he progressed up to the position of Director General for International Health and Coordination, responsible for issues pertaining to the International Health and coordination of the work of the Ministry of Health with different NGOs supporting the health sector in the country.
With the wrong advisors around Hon Elizabeth Acuei, Dr. Thuou Loi is being asked to replace Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial. I will be as guilty as those who made the decision, If I accept to replace Dr. Isaac Cleto from his vital role of not only providing the needed surgical services to the people of South Sudan in Juba Teaching Hospital, but also teaching the cohort of future generation of surgeons of this country.
I decided to make this piece public to all of you to judge whether the Hon Minister Elizabeth Acuei has been rightly or wrongly advised by the advisors around her. As for me, there is no moral or medical ground for me to take over from Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial. Dr. Isaac Cleto Rial should continue to teach and provide surgical services to the people of South Sudan at Juba Teaching Hospital in addition to the routine administrative role.
I know that I made some tough decisions at the Ministry of Health that did not go down well with people who don’t think beyond their dining table. My role in ensuring that the former country representative of the World Health Organization, along with his cousin who was messing up the Infectious Diseases Unit (IDU-where COVID patients are treated), were sent out of this country was not a good one for those who are ready to sell the national agenda and pride for few dollars. I stand by those decisions and I will continue to do so, whether I am at the Ministry of Health or not.
God bless South Sudan!
The author is the Director General for International Health and Coordination at South Sudan ministry of health!
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