Dr Muhammed Ammar Al Jafari, stated this yesterday while offering clarification on the auditor general’s report regarding the hospital’s administrative practices and financial management to lawmakers comprising the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises committee in Banjul.
Dr Al Jafari said: “It is true that I sometimes do not have medication at the hospital because it is very expensive. I spend two million dalasi every month on medication and if I have to satisfy the medication and consumables needs of the hospital, I will have to need around twenty-four million dalasi a year budget. More than one year now, I did not have any medication from the ministry. We bought all the medication from the hospital’s own money. The income of the hospital is now seven hundred thousand dalasi. If you consider the running cost of the generator, emergency medication, and other issues, you will understand that it is a problem. I started making sure, when I was appointed, that every patient has the medicines that he or she needs but later I was forced to stop because I am in a financial crisis. I still tried to make sure that the emergency medicines are always available.”
The EFSTH boss also requested for “full autonomy” of his institution during the budget appropriation by the lawmakers to enable the hospital to “take care of all things it needed”.
He added: “The solution is for Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, as a major teaching and referral hospital, to take full autonomy. When you make the budget of the hospital on its own, I think EFSTH can take care of all the things needed. It is hard to imagine the pressure on EFSTH. We have six hundred in both in-and-out patients every day, the patients from Farafenni and other hospitals from all over the country.
“EFSTH is not a ministry; we are a hospital. How we can give insulin to all diabetic patients in the country when one costs four to five hundred dalasi with the financial issue we are dealing with? Sometimes, you don’t have very critical medicines that you can’t imagine a hospital without and you cannot wait for a ministry to work out some document before you can have the drugs. We don’t have time because the patient’s life cannot wait for someone.”
Tombong Jatta, the majority leader and member of Serrekunda East, pledged that the lawmakers will do their best to bail the hospital out of its recent “financial crisis.” He however suggested that if the hospital could
raise its consultation fee from 25 dalasi to another price could boost their revenue base.
He said: “We understand that you may not be able to solve all the issues affecting the hospital but you should have medicine at the hospital. Health is critical and it is a priority area of our government. We want to know your challenges and see how the National Assembly can help. Could you also see if you may add the recent consultation fees of the hospital in order to boost the revenue earning capacity of the hospital?”]]>