Gboko Stewart, email@example.com
Monrovia – FHI360 continues to come under a hail of criticisms by some Liberians in the country, and the diaspora following journalRAGE’s publication of a man from the LGBTQ community alleging that the organization outed his health status of being HIV positive.
Dominic Bropleh (name changed to protect identity), 32, a staff of LEGAL accused the organization of putting him at odds with his family and community when the organization, during an awareness on HIV/AIDS across the country, showcased him as one of those on treatment and living healthily with the virus well over a decade.
Bropleh said the organization did not have him informed it would be outing his health status as he was told messaging for the campaign would be cross checked with him prior to publication.
To his utmost surprise, he said, his picture on a flyer outing his HIV status was emblazoned on the walls of clinics and hospitals across the country, thereby landing him in hot water with his family and the community he once resided.
He said he tried unsuccessfully to get the organization’s Liberian staff to rectify its grave mistake but his pleas appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.
Bropleh’s concerns, following the publication from journalRAGE, prompted the US Embassy and FHI360 to launch an investigation. The latter has since issued a statement to the Liberian man, apologizing for the poor handling of the matter by its Liberian team.
“He was not treated with the dignity and respect he deserved. We deeply regret that we felt short in meeting our commitment to safeguarding the people with whom we work,” the company said in a statement.
But that has not shielded the organization from taking flak over the matter by some Liberians who appear to be seething over the action of the FHI360 team in Liberia.
Monique Yhap-Scott, a health practitioner and socialite stated in a Facebook post that Bropleh’s story “highlights how flippant our country and society continue to be about patients’ privacy in healthcare and frankly in general.”
“Also noticeable is some international healthcare organizations having practices in Liberia that they’d dare not try [in] their own country or elsewhere,” she wrote.
Yhap-Scott’s sentiments are shared by Estina Agnes Jones Kamara who maintained that the company’s action was the “height of exploitation.”
Said Kamara: “To think that it’s coming from an American company I am supporting with my hard-earned tax dollars is even more preposterous. The things that don’t fly in America are what we do in other places – no wonder the entire world loathes us because we are so full of some four-letter word. #FHI360 ought to be ashamed of themselves. I am so not proud of being an American.”
Kamara said she wonders why Bropleh was not consulted by FHI360 to seek his approval prior to revealing his health status. “That is preposterous.”
Prace Mickell, also a Liberian, said she the organization should be sued for its action. “This is totally wrong. He need[s] a lawyer to take them to the law. If this was in any western countries [country], by now they are paying for the damages. Africans are always taking [taken] advantage.”
Said Mickell: “It’s so unfortunate most of these NGOs (local and international) will do everything possible to use vulnerable people just to reach their target and please their donors but fail to realize how they end up putting these people at greater risk when their project is finished.”
This article was funded in part through a grant from the US State Department. The funder has no say in its content.
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