By Musa Bah
Health, it is said, is wealth. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Every government should make the provision of quality healthcare delivery a priority to ensure that it nurtures healthy and good citizens who will work to bring about the development of the country. This is when we will be able to build the necessary strength and expertise to improve the lives and livelihoods of the people.
However, Mr President, at the moment our healthcare delivery system is not at all in good shape. Sources close to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital have decried the very poor quality of services at the hospital. There are so many things which could have – should have been – basic tools for the proper functioning of the hospital and are not there at all.
It is said that there is no CT Scan at the hospital at the moment. Thus, when someone needs to be scanned, it is either the individual is brought to Serekunda Hospital or there won’t be any possibility of him/her getting that for a proper diagnosing. It is said that the CT Scan machine that was available has a problem and it’s been months and it’s still not repaired.
Again, another serious problem at the hospital is that there is no x-ray service and as such, if there is a patient who needs to be x-rayed, there will be no way to do it except sending him/her to Serekunda hospital. This definitely puts a sick person to too much inconvenience. It means that doctors will find it hard – if not impossible – to diagnose certain ailments. Consequently, Mr President, some Gambians might die – might have died – due to the fact that there was no way to properly identify their ailments and treat them.
Reports also have it that some individuals within the hospital administration have been defrauding the hospital by buying half of the fuel they were supposed to buy and pocketing the balance in cash. This is extremely horrible and whoever is responsible should be investigated and brought to book. Corruption is bad in all circumstances but when it is at a hospital it means direct loss of lives of ordinary Gambians. It is high time we took a firm stance against malfeasance.
Unbelievably, it has also been reported that even cotton was once completely unavailable for a period of as long as two months. One can’t wrap one’s head around such a thing happening in our hospitals. Of course, there are private hospitals in the country where one can get all these, but how many Gambians can afford the charges of those private hospitals?
Another unfathomable happening at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital is the periodic lack of oxygen. It is said that sometimes one cannot get oxygen for certain usages in treatment. It is indeed worthy of concern that at our age (I mean as a nation) we can still lack something as basic as oxygen in our hospitals. Government should work to ensure that these problems are tackled as soon as possible because we cannot afford to keep losing Gambians lives to these difficulties.
Have a good day Mr President.