By Omar Bah
The spokesperson of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), Kebba Sanneh has warned that if proper care is not taken the country could run out of capacity to fight against Covid-19.
“The worry and concern of health workers is that should the cases of the virus increase to hundreds and thousands, we might not be able to have the capacity to take care of that. We are concerned that we are having our health workers under quarantine. If many more go under quarantine that will collapse our health system. That’s what we fear,” he told The Standard yesterday.
Sanneh’s observations came on the heels of the current surge in numbers of Covid-19 cases, including some health care officials.
At least nine staff of the EFSTH have tested positive for the coronavirus – four orderlies, five nurses and one security officer while 6 other people who were admitted at the 6&7 wards also tested positive.
As part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus, PRO Sanneh said the management has started decongesting the staff of the hospital. “Staff of the hospital have also been provided with the available necessary materials such as protective gears and masks to protect themselves.”
“As part of the measures, the Leman Clinic is now taking care of our pregnant women. When you say you have a lockdown – the lockdown must be followed by enforcing the regulations and making sure that it is respected,” he added.
He also denied reports that the hospital is totally infected, arguing that there are no scientific proofs to justify those reports. Sanneh also rubbished reports accusing the hospital of negligence in the recent surge of Covid-19 cases hitting its staff.
“We want to make it very clear that we are working according to the resources that are available to us. Our staff member who lost his life to Covid-19 was given the best of care until his last breath by one of our senior nurses in the hospital. We have one of the most hardworking staff in this country because we are cognisant of the fact that we are the major referral hospital in the country. We are very concerned about what is happening to our people,” he added.
He said although staff of the hospital are mandated to wear facemasks, they cannot force them to wear them. However he said since the death of one of their staff they have realised that people have become more serious in wearing facemasks.
“There are people who are in the streets of this country that will have their facemasks stuck in their pockets. This is why we are saying the attitude of our people must change,” he added.
Sanneh said due to the increase of Covid-19 cases in the country and the hospital in particular “the management would like to inform the general public that we have restricted access to the hospital. When it comes to patients that are admitted with us only one escort is allowed into the hospital and it is mandatory for all visitors entering the hospital to wear facemasks, wash their hands and their temperatures be checked.”
He rubbished rumours that the country’s major referral hospital is responsible for managing the Covid-19 response in the country.
“Yes, staff of the hospital are part of the Covid-19 management team but the whole responsibility with regard to the situation and how it develops is not coming from us. That is the responsibility of the ministry of health,” he concluded.