By Aji Fatou Faal
The Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Refugees and Humanitarian Relief of the National Assembly Thursday visited Serekunda General Hospital and Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital at Brusubi.
Speaking at SKGH, Hon. Ousman Sillah, chairman of the Health Committee and NAM for Banjul North said the mission is part of their statutory functions meant to make findings, engagements and interactions with officials that are given the responsibility to discharge services.\
For his part, Kebba Manneh, chief executive officer of SKGH, said the hospital has 110 bedded, with a catchment area population of over 600,000 inhabitants (30% of the national population).
According to him, about 25 secondary health facilities refer to the hospital (both public & private) with five hundred and twenty-two (522) employees, five hundred (500) deliveries conducted every month, over 1000 major operations conducted annually and over 500 minor operations conducted annually.
Manneh highlighted that the challenges facing SKGH are inadequate subvention, overdraft (almost 1 million Gambian dalasis), vendor liabilities (GMD 2.5 million) mobility constraints (official and utility vehicles); congestion due to high demand for services and there is need for construction of additional wards/units.
He stated that structural inadequacies- need for walkways to connect wards to the theatre; need for more staff (specialist, nurses and allied professionals); need for the renovation and refurbishment of the entire hospital with shortage of some essential drugs, equipment and consumables.
At Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital, Foday Jawla, acting Matron, said the only psychiatric hospital in the country needs more support because the numbers of psychiatric cases are alarming every day. He said the hospital has 100-patient capacity but goes beyond that with about 67 staff.
After meeting with the officials, the Select Committee was escorted to the facilities for inspection with many apparent challenges.