Dr. Yankuba Madina Bah, the District Medical Officer (DMO) in Kenema, has expressed concern over the low number of trained and qualified staff at the Kenema government hospital. Dr.Bah said both the central hospital in Kenema city and the district health centers lack adequately trained and qualified staff to take care of the health needs of the growing population.
“There are few doctors in the district and the number of sick cases is too much for the doctors to cope with within Kenema city and in the district,” Dr. Bah said.
He cited an instance to Panguma hospital where they are in dire need of a doctor. The DMO disclosed that the entire district has only Community Health Officers (CHOs), with over a hundred medical staff whose names are not on the payrolls and few of them are qualified. Dr. Bah further complained that some staff have traveled without the knowledge of the administration of the hospital but they are still receiving salaries without working.
He added that the investigations are on-going, noting defaulters will be dealt with according to the law of this country. The hospital authorities have proper record of staffs that are presently working.
Dr. Bah revealed to the press that he has recommended a staff into the district council while nine others are on scholarship at Paramedical in Bo. He showed more concern about the growing infant and maternal mortality rate in the district, noting that they are trying to reduce it drastically.
He expressed appreciation to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for providing three new ambulances and donating 24 communication sets for the government hospital in Kenema and at health centers within the district to ease communication between the central hospital and the health centers within the district for easy access of referral cases.
When asked about the poor state of the children’s ward and the surgical ward known as ward six, he said his responsibility for the district and the hospital lies on the Medical Superintendent.
Speaking to Awoko the matron Mrs. Alice Stevens also disclosed that there is no senior staff at the hospital, saying that the entire Kenema district has three SRN nurse, no midwives but have enough State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHN).
When asked about the children’s ward and ward six, Mrs. Stevens said she sympathizes with the public because people come to the hospital for medical aid but some patients are exposed to other sicknesses while in the ward. The hospital compound is very bushy and behind the children’s ward is the worst, which is the breeding place for snakes and other creatures. The lab service, however, is commendable as patients who have visited the lab praised the staffs.
Speaking to the patients at the hospital, one of them described the hospital as a “killer hospital,” saying that instead of people getting salvation, they are faced with hell, by being exposed to other illness.
The situation is bad, but I observed that the nurses seem to be very caring for the patients as some of the patients confirmed to me.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema