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City of Banjul
Saturday, October 16, 2021

System failure

By Jainaba Jallow

The health system has FAILED. The health system has failed my parents, friends and unborn children. Today I speak from the depths of my heart. From a place so deep that I wish things could turn around for good. I’m caught in a maze

Being interviewed into medical school, I was asked “why do you want to be a doctor”? My response – to save lives of course, but I need not be a doctor in-order to save lives. A police man saves lives on a daily basis, so does a fighter fighter a first aider and so on.  But the reason why I want or rather need to be a doctor is that I believe in the system. I believe it’s a system of empathy. A system put into place re assuring every Gambian that health is a basic fundamental human right in this country, be it rich or poor, old or young, Mandinka or Fula, Muslim or Christian, Gambian or non-Gambian, it has no room for discrimination.

Fast forward into final year of medical school. The eyes and heart have seen so much during this journey. I weep trying to formulate the write words. Where do I even begin? Is it the paediatrics department in which we see on a daily basis our future leaders dying? Is it due to the lack of care? Our horrible work ethics as health care providers? Is the the CMD and management team of the EFSTH or the MoH and the government? So many unanswered questions. But one thing is for sure, take a look at yourself as a health care provider and do what you must to instill change. It begins with you.

By now we must all have an insight of the struggles both health care providers and patients go through. It ranges from quality of care provided to lack of essential medication and equipments to make a definitive diagnosis. So you ask yourself, do we even have a hospital? Why don’t we shut it down and let everybody die at home? I’m I ready to practice medicine in The Gambia? Would you blame the ones that have left? Would you rather stay and be subjected to such mediocrity-Just because we’re so used to it does not mean that one must accept it. I recall when I was so obstinate and enthusiastic about practicing medicine in The Gambia and wanting to help my people, bring about that change that we all need. But now I feel lukewarm, indifferent about the choices I make and here’s why

“We are a country of indifference. Indifference to high standards, indifference to high performance, indifference to consistent productivity, indifference to accountability, indifference to high moral character,indifference to transformational ideas…. indifference to the grim realities of the COVID19 pandemic…..just indifference said Dr Ismaila Badjie.

One thing is for sure. Our leaders hate each other. Their grudges are putting your life and mine at risk. The corruption and lack of accountability, the greed is what’s killing us today. This is why the health system is failing and would continue to fail. Until we take a look at ourselves as ONE. And know that God has chosen you to impact as much lives as you can. Be selfless and altruistic. Be empathetic and compassionate. Be a just individual with moral judgments.

No matter how many times you change the colors of a painting on the wall, the foundation remains the same.

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