By Aji Fatou Faal
The Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Refugees and Humanitarian Relief of the National Assembly on Tuesday visited Farafenni General Hospital and Essau Major Health Centre to assess and gather first-hand information on the state of affairs of the facilities.
Speaking to the members of the committee, Wandifa Samateh, chief executive officer of Farafenni General Hospital, revealed that the hospital is divided into Administration and Clinical areas for ease of performance. He said administration is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hospital; while the clinical is responsible for providing clinical services.
He highlighted the achievements of the hospital that a trained nurse always heads in all shifts 24/7; a doctor is available 24/7 to promptly attend to all referrals/emergencies; doctors do ward rounds (Mondays – Fridays); responsible for admitting, discharge and/or referring of patients including ordering of specified procedures such as X-Ray, scanning; only designated prescribers authorized to prescribe for patients; and the hospital generator is always put on whenever there is emergency.
According to him, their training and re-training of staff is ongoing and is an important undertaking. Staff also sponsored by management to pursue SRN & SEN Programme; all clinical staff are provided standard uniforms for easy identification; conducive working environment is enhanced with the provision of refrigerators, fans, furniture, electric kettle, air conditioners etc in wards/units/offices/residence; salaries are paid always by the 21st of the month; to enhance communication between and among staff CUG and internet facility are provided and paid for by management; for recreational purpose and staff interaction, a video club has been established serving both the hospital staff and the wider community; and all trained and senior staff are provided fully furnished accommodation and utilities borne by the hospital.
He however said the hospital faces various constraints which include inadequacy in numbers, skilled mixed relating to nurses, midwives, doctors, laboratory and X-ray technicians; redeployments without replacements of staff; some bio-medical equipment are faulty/inadequate in numbers including anesthetic machine, X–ray machine, oxygen concentrators, dental chair, delivery beds, autoclave, nebulizer, suction machine; the non-availability of a bio-medical technician makes it difficult to carryout routine equipment maintenance.
He said that with increasing utilization of services, the supply of drugs and medical consumables do not match with the demand causing shortage periodically; and the main operating theatre cannot be utilized because of the lack of an access ramp; funding recently accessed from finance (Development fund) Gamworks engaged through MOHSW for award of contract.
The Committee also visited Essau Major Health Centre where they met with the Officer-in-charge John Joseph Mendy who revealed that the centre was established in 1948 and was later rehabilitated.