minister of Health Ahmmadou Lamin Samateh, during his visit to Essau District
Hospital last weekend revealed that the operation theatre will be functional in
a week’s time.
“One of the importance of the visit is the official hand over of an obstetrician, an anesthetist, and surgeons including Gambians so that the theatre can start functioning since the infrastructure is already established,” he disclosed.
Mr. Samateh emphasised on the strategic importance of Essau District Hospital in the health care delivery system in The Gambia.
“This step is crucial as it will help women who might need caesarean section and as well help in the reduction of maternal mortality in this country,” he disclosed.
He said that over the years people struggle to go all the way to Barra waiting in the ambulance for the ferry to cross to Banjul to get treatment at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.
He said that in most cases, disaster occurs to some women and their unborn babies due to the long waiting period for the ferry to cross to Banjul, which he added makes it very important for the theatre to function.
The catchment area of the hospital is wide he said, adding that it covers the Nuimies and all the way to Badibou which is also a very densely populated area. “But it’s unfortunate that the hospital has not been operating as expected.”
He described some of the challenges as attitudinal problems; he does not expect hospital toilets not to be clean since there are cleansing materials and people are also employed with responsibility for the facility.
He further urged everyone to be committed in National Development and work collectively in taking care of state properties since they belong to everyone.
Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA-Gambia representative said that UNFPA has been supporting women’s health in The Gambia and all over the world.
“One of the major areas we work on is maternal health. We need to improve the health aspect of women who are pregnant so that they can deliver safely,” he said.
He stated that the event is important because a lot of Gambian women still die during childbirth even though the country has really improved in maternal maternity. “Essau could be a major centre for women to be better taken care of,” he said.
Since the Hospital theatre wasn’t operating, Mr. Adeniyi disclosed that more than 600 women have been referred for past three to four years of which 50% had serious health complications which needed immediate treatment.
“It is the responsibility of the government and its partners to help reduce pressure on the main referral hospital by restructuring other hospitals like Essau,” he urged.