#Article (Archive)

Good to address complaints, criticism

Apr 7, 2014, 8:50 AM

It is heart-warming to hear, once more, that the government is committed to “universal coverage” in the provision of and access to health services countrywide, and to learn about the plans in that direction, as captured in our story headlined: “Govt. committed to quality health care”.

Indeed, access to quality health care should be the norm everywhere in this country, since Gambia does not stop in the Greater Banjul Area, and all citizens have a “right to development”, so to speak.

Indeed, it is still incomprehensible that patients have to be referred to Banjul, from as far away places as Bansang hospital and Soma major health centre.

Definitely, the declarations we have heard from our elected and public officials, to bring health care to the doorsteps of every person living in this country, should have become be a reality long ago, as we prepare to celebrate 50 years of independence.

Indeed, the scores of doctors who have been trained at UTG medical school should be posted to all the hospitals and health facilities countrywide.

What about the community doctors program supported by the Cubans - is it still ongoing, and how many working doctors has it produced so far? Are the community doctors in the field?

We always hear hard-to-believe reports claiming that even though the buildings are there, a particular person went to this hospital or that health centre in the neighbourhood, and the service given/attention received was poor; that he/she found a shortage of simple materials like bandages, syringes, medicine etc., not to mention an acute shortage of well-trained duty nurses.

You hear that this is the case even in the country’s main referral hospital in Banjul.

We believe these reports, some of them carried in the newspapers, including talk of a shortage of basic medical supplies at the children’s wing in Banjul, and a shortage of qualified staff on duty at the maternity wing in Banjul, should be looked into.

In any case, we recall the national health authorities have said they were going to put in place a complaints system, to enable them receive patients’ complaints, especially at the hospital in Banjul – what happened to this public service - how well has it been functioning?

"Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is doing a public service".

Leslie Stephen