By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly select committee for Health in its country wide tour of the health facilities, visited the Ministry of health, which has availed them the opportunity to obtain first-hand information surrounding the Ministry. The visit has availed the Ministry to highlight their activities, achievements and challenges to members of the Committee. From the Ministry, the tour party proceeded to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.
At the country’s main central hospital, Dr. Amadou Samateh, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), through a power point presentation, highlighted how the hospital became a teaching facility in 1999; that it has a bed capacity of 564 and 48% of new patients and a total number of 205 graduate workers.
He cited functional ventilator, staff inadequacy, finance, inadequate subventions from the government among others, as his facility’s current sadden situation which he added, should be put into history with urgency.
Dialysis, inadequacy of medical supplies, inadequacy of funding and the current debt burden, was highlighted by the CDM as a major challenge at the hospital.
“Our finance is grossly inadequate to hire competent staff to deliver quality health care to patients,” he decried.
He thanked the new dispensation for the support and urged them and the entire populace to act as a matter of urgency, to help them provide remedies to their current needs such as upgrading and modernizing all the wards, a theater complex, autoclaves, adequate ambulances, a standard Intensive Care Unit (ICU), medical waste incinerator, oxygen plant and piping system. He also thanked members of the committee for their visit.
On his part, Hon. Sulayman Saho, Member for Central Badibu and member of the committee, hailed the CDM for the good work and urged him to keep up the momentum. He assured him and his staff of the support of the committee in their efforts to provide solutions to the constraints highlighted.
Hon. Fatoumata Jawara, Member for Tallinding and member of the committee, echoed similar remarks, but tasked Dr. Samateh and staff to do all it takes to put an end to the sale of drugs meant for the country’s main referral hospital (EFSTH). Hon Jawara cited that this can be done through intensive supervision of the drugs.
The head of the Health Committee, Hon. Ousman Sillah, Member for Banjul North, said the information from the EFSTH was mind boggling; that the hospital was in a crisis situation, which needs urgent intervention because as the main referral hospital of the country, it should be fully equipped.
“The situation is really disheartening and needs real attention of the authorities. As a committee responsible for health, we will really do all it takes to ensure that health care is given the attention it deserves,” stressed Hon. Sillah.
He averred that legislators have multiple roles which include approving the budget that the government allocates to sectors and will make sure that during budget approvals, the hospital gets an increased budget; that the country has committed itself to the Abuja Declaration, which is committing fifteen percent of the national budget to health and will ensure that this time, that is done.
“We will also be calling on partners to really support the sector, because health affects everybody and as such it is a sector that concerns everybody. We need to give it the support it deserves and will really be championing that as a committee,” Hon. Sillah disclosed.
He concluded by saying that with the new dispensation, expectations are high and they really need to deliver in committing resources where they are supposed to be committed.