The situation at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) is miserable as the newly rehabilitated tank at the hospital cannot retain or reserve water to supply the wards, backed by the fluctuating power supply with no fuel to utilize the standby generator.
The security of both patients and staff on night shift are seriously threatened, as thieves armed with daggers and other dangerous weapons now pass through the collapsed fence at the back of the mortuary to wreak havoc in the hospital.
Awoko caught up with Alieu B. Sannoh, the senior secretary of the hospital, who hesitantly disclosed to me that the acute water scarcity at that hospital was a delicate one, given the fact that PCMH is a tertiary hospital and in high demand, especially by pregnant women, who always pop in for treatment and other major operations which require a substantial supply of pipe borne water. He said water only runs at night, but during day time there would be serious water scarcity.
After the rehabilitation of the hospital, the tank has not been retaining water to supply the wards; as a result, relatives of patients end up going out to fetch water.
Mr. Sannoh explained that Guma Valley Water Company workers once came around to identify the problem and promised to come back to address the fault, but since then, they have not returned and the problem remains. When asked on how they manage sanitation in the hospital with an inadequate water supply, he said the sanitary situation in the hospital would have been an eye sore, but with the intervention of contract cleaners, the sanitary situation in the wards are maintained.
On the question of electricity supply, he said the general light supply to the hospital is OK, but it sometimes fluctuates. This, he said, could be dangerous during surgical operations because they have not got enough funds to fuel the 230 KVA standby generator, which consumes 10 gallons of fuel per hour. With regard to nutrition, he explained that the contractors do supply but the hospital lacks a cooling system to preserve perishable food – fish, vegetables and meat, among others. Consequently, the hospital spends huge sums of money on ice blocks in order to preserve the perishable foods.
“In an effort to cut down on the expenditure, we have done a proposal to the ministry for funding, but it is yet to be approved,” he said. After touring the hospital, I discovered the collapsed fence right at the back of the mortuary. Security guard Brima Kaloko explained to me that it collapsed since 2007, on the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections. “We are frequently confronted by thieves at night who pass through the collapsed fence into the hospital compound to wreak havoc,” he said.
By Solomon Rogers