Monday, May 7, 2012

Unnecessary Deaths

Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital - Banjul
Gambia’s President Friday dismissed the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital’s (RVTH) Chief Medical Director, Dr. Ahmed Secka and dissolved the Board of Directors of the Hospital.

An April 27 press statement from the Office of the President, accuses doctors and nurses of laissez faire attitude towards patients at the RVTH which has “resulted in unnecessary deaths and sufferings for many people.”

This latest sackings came three months after President Yahya Jammeh warned that he will wipeout “lackadaisical attitudes” at workplaces. On the eve of his inauguration for a fourth five-year term in January, he said civil servants “should do their work, go home or go to jail.”

In an interview, Jammeh told the nation’s broadcaster: “You go to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) or any hospital, for that matter; what we thought was history is coming back and, that is, you go there and the nurses do not care. They sit chatting, and they are very rude. Or the doctors are nowhere to be seen and, at the end of the day, they are being paid salaries.”

Meanwhile, Friday’s announcement said the “tragic loss of lives and sufferings” could have been avoided, had it been that those entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of patients had paid special attention to their welfare.

It warned that “all other nurses and doctors also found wanting in their duties will be dealt with accordingly.”

Like any other institution and households in the country, the main referral hospital also suffers from erratic electricity supply, which is alleged to have resulted in disastrous consequences. 

“It has also been discovered that power outages often occur in the middle of major surgical operations, or some other life-saving activities with tragic consequences,” the statement added, directing NAWEC, the country’s energy company, to work closely with the Office of the President to provide specially dedicated power lines that would supply constant electricity to every major hospital in the country.

Meanwhile, President Jammeh have used the situation to add RVTH to the many institutions already under his purview, and equally reappointed Professor Ousman Nyan, the provost, School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of The Gambia as the chief medical director of the Hospital.

By Modou S. Joof 

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