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City of Banjul
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Our health sector is in shambles

The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital [EFSTH] in Banjul – the main referral hospital in the country and the only teaching hospital of the country – is lacking some major equipment which are needed for proper functioning in order for it to effectively and efficiently serve its purpose. I have been reliably informed, for instance, that there is only one histology lab in that most important hospital.

This is the only lab in the country that conducts cancer screening and diagnosis. This includes: breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, lymphomas and so on.
This also tests for non cancerous diseases such as goitre, fibroadenoma, uterine fibroids, TB. Since November of last year, the lab has not been fully functional due to the lack of materials such as ethanol, stains, slides, cover slips etc.

Mr President, these are requirements which should be made available. Furthermore, information has it that some equipment used for the testing of malaria, which doctors call BF [Blood Film] is in short supply prompting them to resort to RDT [Rapid Diagnostic Test] which is not as accurate as the Blood Film in testing for malaria.
It is also said that the hospital does not have the equipment to test for Hepatitis B. Furthermore, it is revealed that in the whole country there are only two CT scanning machines, one at the EFSTH and the other at Serekunda Hospital.

Indeed Mr President, this is a cause for concern. Health, it is said, is wealth. Considering this, we should certainly ensure that our hospitals are fully equipped to handle the healthcare needs of our population. The provision of healthcare is a right which every citizen should enjoy. Thus, government should ensure the provision of healthcare delivery which is not only accessible, but affordable as well. What is the use of healthcare if the majority of Gambians cannot afford it?

True, these equipment may be available in private hospitals and clinics, but it will be too expensive for the ordinary folk to afford. It’s the duty of the government to provide all these things for the citizens of the nation. As we are a poor country, it is understandable that we cannot have all the equipment of medical science, but at least the ones that are indispensable for an effective healthcare delivery need to be made available.
Some of the deceases listed above are so common in the Gambia that everything should be done in the fight to eradicate them. Mr President, I think it’s high time we started prioritising our priorities.
Have a Good Day Mr President….

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