By Omar Bah
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Saffie Lowe Ceesay has revealed that efforts in developing The Gambia’s health sector are held back by corruption and unpatriotic doctors.
The minster made this startling revelation at a press conference organised by the Conference and Scientific meeting of the West African College of Surgeons at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
According to Minister Lowe unless corruption is wiped out from the system, the country’s health sector would not realise its objectives.
“When you talk about corruption in the health system we all know how it is….These young doctors that will just go and practice pharmaceutics, some of them have opened their own pharmacies with the resources that we have. I am very sure of what I am saying because I was the PS,” she said.
She continued: “We are also trying to make people understand that government alone cannot make any meaningful change because we the ordinary people form a very important part of governance. We must learn and try to ensure that the little resources we have are used in the most judicious way; that is the only way we can develop.”
She said there is a need for more patriotism in the health sector especially from the doctors, who she said should understand their job should be just more than making money, “Their profession is dedicated to serve humankind. There is no amount of money you can compensate them with….They should understand that.”
“No matter how much resources we have, if we don’t change our attitudes, we will not make any head way,” she said.
She said most of the hospitals in the country are in a degradable stage, “But we have very good doctors; we just have to inculcate good citizenship into our work places. Over the years a lot of cash was allocated for the health sector but it always falls into the wrong hands.”
Minister Lowe also called for the need to give the health workers favorable working conditions.
On the conference, Mrs Lowe said: “The conference came at a very crucial time for the Gambia because we inherited an ailing health system. We have also lost most of our competent people because of none conducive environment.
“I am happy that with the coming of the West African College Surgeons that would provide us with the opportunity to look at our system and how we can improve on them,” she stated.
She said the new government has made lot of efforts, “We are trying but the government is young and not strong financially.”