The acting District Medical Officer (DMO) of the Kambia Government Hospital, Dr David Sesay has said that the use of traditional medicines by locals is a serious health risk in the district.
He also said that the hospital is rapidly running out of qualified nurses.
“We have 5 SCCHNs and three of them are going for the CHO courses two of them are going into midwifery; six other nurses, here have also passed their third row exams i.e. for the SCCHN; virtually all the trained staff are leaving,” he disclosed.
He appealed to the Health Ministry to send enough trained nurses to the district.
The reason why nurses often refused working in this part of the country, he said, “it is because of the remoteness of this place, as they say or maybe because they do not have their remote allowances.”
The doctor also said that treating patients is very difficult in the district, “people do not like coming to the hospital, unless when the case is at the brink of fatality after having loaded the sick person with lots of local herbs, they have intoxicated the liver, distended the abdomen, very pale, severely anemic, weak with respiratory distress and can’t even breathe normally, that is when they come to the hospital, and by then time it is too late.”
The reasons why locals’ prefer traditional medicines, he said, “could be looked at in three folds: firstly, is the belief that the herbs were used by their predecessors and it worked well, secondly the cost and thirdly the transportation cost to the nearest health centres.”
Highlighting some of the challenges at the hospital, the acting DMO said, he inherited machinery that was really not functioning.
Dr Sesay added, “When I came here on postings on November 2008 the place was almost in shambles and there was no doctor for quite a long time. We [also] haven’t got so much of qualified personnel he added.
The doctor revealed that the belief of the locals is also a major challenge: “There is a fact that people have used to having everything free because of MSF occupancy in this place for almost four to five years.”
“The people have this belief that everything should be free for them even when they come they do want to even pay consultation fees, or admission fees; this create lots of problems for us because the hospital has to move it is a machine,” he said.
Dr Sesay argued, “you can’t say everything is going to be levied on the government or on the ministry. The ministry allocates a particular lump of sum which they have for certain things to be done, for some other petty things the ministry is hoping that we in these hospitals fine ways and means to handle these ones,” he said.
“It is not everything that you going to ask the Ministry for,” he stressed. By Ophaniel Gooding & Betty Milton