OJ laments ‘crumbling’ healthcare system


Omar Jallow told The Standard: “Building a hospital is not just about the structure. It is about what goes in to the structure. This is the measurement even in Europe. Look at the Farafenni hospital; it is not fully equipped after how many years. But people see the building and categorise it as a hospital.

“Not too long ago, I went to Serrekunda hospital and there was only one gas bottle for that big hospital. And even paracetamol, you have to go and buy it at the pharmacy. This is the crumbling health care system that the APRC has instituted in this country.”

OJ, who was a minister in the former republic went on to draw comparisons with the ruling APRC in terms of approaches to the country’s health care system.


He added: “During our time, the pharmacy was always full. We are not talking about fast development; we are talking about quality development. 

“The livelihoods of the people should be treated with special care. I like to build roads, but I also want to see people driving nice cars on the roads when it is built. But if I build a road and you don’t have a bicycle to ride on it when you will be the person to pay for the loan used to build it, then it becomes a misplaced priority.

“We cannot even tailor our development in terms of the European model. During our time, we developed the primary health care and trained people who delivered women in homes and made them more qualified to go into homes and deliver pregnant women. This was so successful that people were coming from Mali, Senegal and other places to learn about it.

“We did not build big hospitals but we built well equipped health centres manned by competent people all over the country. The EU developed Basse to have a hospital, in partnership with the PPP government and they expanded the Bansang hospital that is why you have the State Registered Nurses school (SRN) there. Through Mr Tambedou, we were able to build the Jahally hospital. We also expanded, among many other things, the maternity wing of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. We were not building mighty structures because they don’t cure people, what cures people are the facilities available and we had that available.”