Banjul – Edward Francis Small Hospital Starved Of The Basics
As the coronavirus exerts a strenuous pressure on health facilities and their staffs in The Gambia, the Banjul Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) is in dire need of some basic medical items. In sometimes, in the main referral health institution of the country, it’s the obsolete nature of the equipments in use by the personnel that is appalling.
The Chronicle’s findings have it that the some basic medical drugs needed by patients visiting the hospital’s pharmacy are unavailable. Paracetamol, Panadol and Aspirin, the drugs commonly prescribed to patients in The Gambia, are only available in private pharmacies located around the hospital in Banjul.
Nitrile gloves, some of the most durable type of disposable gloves fancied by medical professionals, are quasi inexistent at the EFSTH hospital.
The Microscope at the main Lab of the hospital is out of service for the past four months. The lab technicians currently struggle to conduct urine and stool analysis.
The Blood Donation Centre (Blood Bank), a unit responsible to collect blood and keep it safe for blood transfusions, has only one refrigerator which is not enough to serve the high demand from the hospital.
The Department of Radiology is endowed with outdated analog medical machines. The Siemens digital fluoroscopic machine is old. The currently used digital X-ray machine arrived at the EFSTH hospital in 2012. Its calibration is often a nightmare prompting engineers to advice the health authorities to look for a new modern one.
The old digital X-ray machine goes with a set of digital X-ray cassettes. The manual processing cassette for this machine is scarcely used around the globe.
Our reporter who visited the X-ray unit saw a lot of X-ray films being dried under the sun in order to complete the chemical processing of the X-ray films to be handed to patients.
The Automatic Processor, a device designed to move medical X-ray films from one solution to another is unavailable in the nation’s main referral hospital. Meanwhile, the personnel at the X-ray unit could encounter eye problems due to the chemical being used in their work.
Worst, the Chronicle’s reporter discovered that a medical tool called “dosimeter”, which is a device used to measure how much radiation or X-ray emissions an individual absorbs, is also not available at the hospital. To handle situations in relation to this device, the personnel refer to the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Lead aprons gears that are worn by health staff to protect themselves from X-ray radiations are currently not available in the hospital.
The scarcity of the hospital disposables is shocking with the lack of tissue papers, ultrasound gels, medical gloves, CT scan contrast etc., at least until the moment our reporter left the hospital this midweek, none of these was at hand for the staff to properly deliver their duties.
Following these incredible discoveries, our reporter reached out to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital’s Public relation officer Samuel Nyancho Sanneh. During the short telephone conversation Mr. Sanneh entertained with our reporter, he strangely seemed to be surprised by the picture depicted to him.
“You mean, all this is still happening now?” the EFSTH spokesperson asked. As our reporter replied in the affirmative, Mr. Sanneh seemingly annoyed with the conversation, told The Chronicle’s reporter “I have nothing to discuss with you because you have bypassed the authorities to do your independent findings. I have nothing to tell you, go ahead!” the EFSTH PRO said before he abruptly hung his phone.