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Workers at Lungi Government Hospital debunk radio allegations

Workers at Lungi Government Hospital debunk radio allegations

Lungi, August 26 (SLENA) – The Lungi Hospital is one of the only two major Government Referral Hospitals that people of the Port Loko district can be proud of. It is situated on the Freetown International Airport Town of Lungi in the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom with special responsibilities to address airport related cases.

But sources say the hospital is so ill-equipped that a lot of concerns have been raised by the Inhabitants of the Chiefdom. Fingers of blames have been pointed directly at both the medical staff and workers of the hospital.

Reports say the desire of the people to market their concerns to the appropriate authorities was demonstrated in a recent Community Radio Programme on the Dos and Don’ts of Ebola. The Programme was anchored at the Galaxy Radio and was attended by the Communications and Situation Analyst of the Port Loko District Ebola Response Centre [DERC].

The Section Chief of Yongoro, Pa Alimamy Kapen Kargbo who doubled as Chairman of the Council of Section Chiefs and the Mammy Queen in Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Madam N’yillah Othman formed part of the panel for the radio discussion. They were quick to shift the discussion to the issues of the Lungi Government Hospital which they referred to as a poorly equipped clinic in an abandoned village instead of a Government Hospital in a highly populated and fast growing chiefdom at the only International Airport.

They spoke of an alarming death rate for Under-Five children, and the uncaring attitude of nurses. They said the hospital lacks almost all what it ought to have for effective service delivery and wondered what has become of the much talked about Free Health Care.

The panellists spoke about the lack of a Dentist, Scanning and X-ray machines at the hospital. As outlined by Madam Othman, the situation is so uncontrollable that nurses no longer have the time to carry out their official functions, while Potters have cultivated the habit of administering drugs and even injections to patients who are often left to their fate.

They gave the example of a patient who was denied admission and ended up dying at home. Pa Alimamy Kapen Kargbo and Madam N’yillah Othman made particular reference to the Crash Ward which they said was not functional.

The version of these people compelled SLENA Correspondent to visit to the hospital for a clear understanding of what the situation was.

Although the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Festus James was not physically present, our correspondent was informed that the doctor has been able to procure two Oxygen Machines since his assumption of office a couple of months ago. Mr. Momoh Foh Coker is the Pharmacist in Charge at the Lungi Government Hospital. He said even though the hospital has essential drugs, some of the drugs often prescribed by the Medics are not available and needed to be bought from elsewhere.

On the issue of electricity supply, he said it is sourced from the Lungi Power Station but that the supply is limited to certain departments and offices as a result of wiring problems. He said the wiring was done in the colonial era and can hardly cope with modern fittings.

 Mary Musa is the Senior Midwifery Sister in charge of the Under Five Department. She said Malaria and Anemia are the most common cases they are faced with. She said their most crucial challenge is the need for a special building for Under-5 children, adding that the actual Ward for was destroyed several years ago.

Sr. Mary Musa said they have since been making use of the Surgical /Out Patients Department while the Examination Room is now used as a Store. She ended with an appeal for the construction of an Under-5 children’s building.

Apart from the Crash Ward which was generally accepted to be non- functional, all the other allegations were vehemently denied and even referred to as baseless and malicious.They claimed that both the nurses and potter are caring for their patients.

On the issue of the Crash Ward at the Hospital, report says it had to be used as a Holding Centre at the height of the Ebola outbreak and it continued until the establishment of the Gbaneh Holding Centre. Although the Ward has since been decontaminated and apparently free for the usual operations, yet it remains very much unusable in spite of the fact that the NGO, GOAL promised to have it refurbished.

Perhaps what needs to be better understood is the expected role of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority [SLAA] in all of these developments.

By Hassan Bruz: Credit SLENA

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