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City of Banjul
Saturday, January 16, 2021

Gambia’s crumbling health system: Is it not time to focus on our hospitals?

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At a time when opponents in politics are busy bandying around claims or down-playing allegations of political maneuverings in millions of Dalasi, the Kanifing General Hospital’s out-patient ward is ironically in a sorry state.

Social media banters are suggestive of mouth-watering, cool millions of dalasis being disbursed or on the menu as a bait for some so-called political heavy-weights as stakes get higher with little over a year to go before Gambians return to the polls to elect their leader.

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But social media experience has prepared us enough to take some of these politically-outrageous stories with a grain of salt until there is preponderance of evidence. What though cannot be taken with reservations is that the out-patient ward of the Kanifing municipality’s biggest hospital is a blot on our health-care delivery system.

A beehive of activity, flurry of patients in need of immediate care; scurrying, dedicated nurses and doctors, the hospital’s outpatient ward has only a fistful of beds and some, at times, without sheets. Patients have to literally take turns to use the ward’s only toilet. It’s a grim picture in there! Could this be the prism with which to observe a crumbling healthcare system or is just dereliction of monumentally undesirable magnitude?


This is quite difficult to fathom taken in the context of the right to best possible healthcare. With the country’s referral hospital struggling with only one obsolete x-ray machine for thousands of patients, the unacceptable maternal mortality rate which recently sent multitudes of activists onto the streets, locomotion troubles of rural folks in accessing the sparsely spread health posts and under-motivated medical staff just to a highlight few, we could safely say that the country is dangerously tethering on the precipice. These problems and many others confronting our health sector could be only dealt with when we show seriousness and readiness for nation-building.

Kanifing General Hospital, as the name indicates, is a catchment facility for hundreds of thousands of patients. So, at times sweaty patients taking turns to use un-sheeted, wet beds in the hospital’s out-patient ward could be said to represent an unfortunate height of recklessness or better-still, insensitivity.

Horrible stories like this and those of depleted pharmacies of our hospitals and health centres are too much to bear.

We’d thought some of the millions of our currency the IMF and World Bank pumped in during the pandemic would’ve gone into bolstering our health infrastructure.

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