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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Health war: Obsession about going to RN School, Nursing turning into business, anti-merit and back-door to SRN, maternal deaths, bribery and corruption in SRN enrollment

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By Batou Saidy

It is of sans-shred of doubt that Health is a very sensitive area, an area of life and death. No nation’s development is indispensable to a good health care system. Thus, health and education are allies. Contrastingly, education is another tool that silently kills health. How?

In The Gambia, it is quite scary how things are going on, particularly how things are going on in the health care system. Sometimes, you even tend to get scared when certain things happen to you or your family member that requires a health care intervention. Is maternal death not quite alarming? Have you found out the paradoxes about that? Gambian Women’s Lives Matter movement can probably give you a basic understanding of it.

Well, even though the Gambian health system is a flaw itself, one branch of it is literally becoming a blow of its own. That is the curative health aspect. This is now common knowledge. How?

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Since enrollment into this SRN has become an obsession, since the kind of students enrolled there doesn’t matter any longer, there are a vast array of palpable positive correlations Gambians can tie to some of the burning health issues of recent. Do death tolls in our health facilities come to your mind? Do you think of maternal deaths in particular?

Enrollment to this famous School of Nursing & Midwifery gets protocol-defying. Instead, most students are enrolled on bribery, corruption, connections, and other irrelevant social ties of no national interest; albeit many others deserving their spot, too.

You’d see pure Arts students that didn’t even get five credits going to RN school, students that cannot even factorize or expand, forget about balancing chemical equations; and mostly, it’s either they have an uncle, a brother, sister, or a connection there to facilitate their enrollment at the expense of other deserving students, or they have people who’d buy a spot for them without managing to eke out any qualifications.

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And if you tell them that they cannot do the program, they’d either tell you: one learns along the way, or one learns in the job, disregarding that life and death are at stake. Sadly, you’d see that a Science student is denied admission in the favor of a weak Arts student that doesn’t even know what metabolism is, an Arts student with no basics in titration or calibration. Is it the RN uniform that is sexy? Is it Nursing that is Romeo? Are the “Back Door” Nursing girls of Juliet? Satirical? Satire-intended. Aliko Gambia!

Honestly, we shouldn’t condone corruption, especially when sensitive areas like health are involved. Enrollment into health care programs shouldn’t be a matter of “my father is there”, “my mother knows them” or “my brother will help me”. Instead, it should be on merit, sheer merit and deservedness.

Imagine someone that couldn’t even make it to a high school Science class, likely failing some subjects at WASSCE, or even registering another fail or probably a “Malaria credit” in General Science, going on to becoming a State Registered Nurse. Perhaps, you’d realize that Back Door is as effective as Front Door in this country. Sadly.

Nko, don’t you think it’s necessary to initiate entrance exams for enrollment into health care programs to assess eligibility, at least? Probably, even with that, some people would still bypass the right channel. Few phone calls would be enough to book a spot. Maybe few tokens would suffice. Maybe in exchange of few favors, too. Such is Gambia.

Why would you help someone to go to RN school to kill people? Do you know that their first victim can be your mom or your own relative if you do not care if they kill other Gambians? Do you want to call that egalitarian health?

Let Gambians start knowing that Nursing isn’t a business, but a profession. It doesn’t have to be lucrative to study it, it has to be a passion that is driven by merit. Perhaps there’s a lot of passion locked inside Nursing, but if you feel the urge to unlock that passion, then you should look for the right key. If you read Arts in high school, go to Law school, Journalism school or their related disciplines. If you read Commerce instead, go to Business school or its related areas. But even if changing fields is your wish, let it be on merit, at least for the interest of the field or that of the nation.

Do you need to go to RN school because your family wants you to be a nurse? Perhaps you should go there because you have the qualifications, and you can do it, and you’d not kill any Gambian.

This country is fighting her war. But the health system is also fighting its own war at its own level. This is probably why every other person is fighting their own individual battle. Maternal death is worrisome, and most of it could’ve been avoided. But how does someone who cannot even spell a “muscle” be able to save another’s life? If you ask Hassim, he’d tell you, “How do you expect a country that’s run by cowboys to do well?” But largely, this mess is extensive. It’s so extensive that, it doesn’t matter what one can do anymore, what matters is that; Nursing is an attractive area to make money, that Nursing is a good business in this country.

About the recent scandal respecting the COVID-19 test results, I’m as sad as you’re. We all know that is etho-health. And referring to it as an ethical diminuendo in health shouldn’t be an innuendo. The Health system is becoming a very lucrative business. Do you want to ask the boss? Is there any motivation in our health system? Sometimes, many people even tend to regret why they went to UTG in the first place. Is anything more frustrating than sitting down after completing one’s program, a health care program in particular? If you ask relevant bodies about it, mostly, they’d tell you that the system is full. That has been a popularly common response recently. But full for who, those with degrees?

There are a lot of things that we should stop if we are really interested in the future of this country. It is in this country where a father would tell his son that Mathematics and English Language aren’t important, that he should just have a credit in Financial Accounting so that he can squeeze him at Ports or GRA. These places are now family businesses. Even NAWEC is aware of that. Sarcastic? Sarcasm-intended.

This country’s future looks bleak. And Gambians are the very architects of Gambia’s regression. The Gambia at crossroads. Only Allah can help this country. I don’t even know-how. Oops, let me not be blasphemous! It’s just that I’m deffo scared and hella worried.

Batou Saidy holds a degree in Public and Environmental Health. Aside from his profession, he is a writer. His writing extends to current affairs, contemporary life issues, politics, sports, and health.  

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