By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health began its Thursday visit at the Serrekunda General Hospital (SKGH). The objective behind these visits to health facilities is to secure first-hand information with a view to providing solutions to the problems facing the country’s health sector.
In his introductory remarks, Babuccar Saine, the hospital administrator, expressed their profound gratitude to the Committee for the visit; that it will avail them the unique opportunity to outline their activities, successes and challenges in the country’s second most important institution.
Mr. Kebba Manneh, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital narrated that the hospital was established in 2010 with a bed capacity of 110 and has a catchment area of over 600,000 inhabitants.
Highlighting his facility’s achievements, Mr. Manneh said the hospital has succeeded in rendering uninterrupted services to the populace, especially during the last political impasse; that cooperation with Medical Research Council Trials (MRC Trials) and 85 surgeries were rendered by the hospital, among other activities.
Inadequacy in Government subvention and staff, construction of theatre and extra wards, mobility, overdraft of 1 million dalasi, vendor liabilities worth GMD 2.5 million and the need for more experts and nurses, were disclosed by the hospital’s number one as some of the daunting challenges facing the hospital.
To be able to deliver excellent health care services to the masses, Mr. Manneh stressed that the provision of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), construction of a standard theatre, new wards or units and a standard laboratory are the fundamental plans to be executed for the challenges for the provision of efficient health care services.
From SKGH, the tour party drove to the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric hospital. Foday Jawla one of the top officials, stated that the hospital faces challenges such as inadequate human resource due to the risks involved in dealing with mentally ill-patients, cost of drugs, staff inadequacy, social sigma towards patients and the insufficient space of the campus, as factors hindering their operations.
On recreation, he said the facility has an occupational therapy, basketball lawn, football field and table tennis, where stabilized skilled patients are kept to showcase their talents, albeit the basketball lawn is currently non-functional, due to lack of the needed materials.
Jawla and other speakers at the hospital called on Government and the populace to help them provide solutions to their predicaments, to enable them carry out their responsibilities with ease.
Responding to the requests raised by the personnel of the health sector, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Ousman Sillah of Banjul North, assured personnel of the visited sites, the support of his committee in ensuring that the Abuja Declaration is implemented, which advocates for 15% of the national budget to be allocated to the health sector of the country during the approval of the budget in the Legislature. He thanked the staff for their dedication to duty amidst stiff challenges and urged them to keep up the spirit.