The District Hospitals Health Management Team (DHMT), and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have organized a stakeholders meeting on Blood Transfusion and Obstetric practices outside the hospital environment.
In his opening remarks to the meeting took place on Tuesday 1st April 2008 at the court ‘bari’ of Paramount Chief Amara Bonya Vangahun’s compound Jabbie street in Kenema city, the Chairman who is also the technician pharmacist at the government hospital Mr. Francis A. S. Bawoh stated that the main aim of the meeting is to draw up a workable action plan to stop Obstetric and Blood Transfusion practices going on outside of the hospital environment, claiming it is not good for the image of the health care services provider personnel in the district and especially those in the hospitals. He called for the active participation of all in the discussion.
In his contribution the section chief of Gbokakajama Chief Brima Kargbo blamed all parties for the medical complications that occurred in the communities. He blamed the doctors of engaging the services of the nurses that they brought into the medical field for years without paying them, claiming some of them abandoned the hospital to go into the community and practice the knowledge they have gained from them at the hospital. He said nurses who are send to the villages do not pass through the chiefs and local authorities, adding that hardship is the major cause of the problems in our communities.
The Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom in the Kenema district PC Amara Bonya Vangahun explained that most of the people prefer to go to quark doctors because they are less expensive, saying that he belief most of the quark doctors in the community got their experiences from the doctors whom they have been operating with on the theatre for years. Adding that nowadays doctors always refer patients to pharmacist without naming the specific pharmacy to the patient, explaining that in the past doctors supply drugs to patients direct from their office instead of referring them to a pharmacy. PC Vangahun said the customary laws that have been preventing bad happenings in society in the past couldn’t be implemented nowadays because of human right issues.
Mohamed S. Blake a community member praised and appreciated the efforts of IRC in the region. He called on the authorities to reintroduce the subject (Family Life Education) FLE into the school curriculum, which will educate the teenager about the hazards of illegal abortion. He noted that such meetings are not only meant for the city but that the grass root too must benefit as they are greatly affected by the practices.
The district women leader Haja Massah Kaisamba thanked IRC for its initiative in bringing stakeholders together to talk about medical issues, but hoped that the medical field might have changed by now explaining an incident in the past where nurses at the government hospital allowed a woman (palm oil seller) to die in labour for five thousand leones.
At the end of the meeting the following came up as an action plan.
* Continues community sensitization after every two weeks covering all the sections in the chiefdom and the district.
· The community must engage in fund raising activities for the health center to take care of emergencies.
· That government must provide some of the facilities that IRC is providing for the community.
· All members of the community must change his or her attitude and to be honest in their dealing at all times such as the doctors, nurses, chiefs, dispensers, patients and the government.