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As Ebola ravages…

Save the Children exposes lapses in free healthcare

DECEMBER 17, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

A study conducted by the Everyone Campaign programme of Save the Children International has exposed series of loopholes in the free healthcare initiative, ranging from the high decrease in the number pregnant women going for antenatal care, lack of storage facilities, to a drop in the number of immunization, among others.

The study, which was conducted in twenty-six (26) communities in the Western Rural and targeted 10 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), aimed at exposing the impact of the Ebola outbreak on the free healthcare initiative.

According to the study, over 45% of health facilities visited lack proper storage facility for free health drugs, and that although Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) are available in all the health facilities, they are inadequate for all the health workers, while some health personnel are not using the PPEs because they have not been trained on how to use them.

In the Leicester and Gloucester communities, according to the study, health workers do spend little time at the health facilities and that most often than not, free healthcare beneficiaries cannot access the service during visits.

Also, the study revealed that few lactating mothers that take their children for treatment did not accommodate the use of weigh bags to ascertain the weight of their children.

At the Sussex community, the report continued that pregnant women are asked to pay for all the treatment at the health facility, while lactating mothers who take their children for inoculation are asked to pay Le2,000 for the service.

The study further exposed the fear factor currently existing among health workers, with nurses being afraid to treat children because of Ebola, which fear the study said is also replicated by the beneficiaries against nurses.

In the Leicester community, the study revealed that health facilities lack ambulance. However, the study indicated that the health facilities did provide supplementary food for beneficiaries.

In Waterloo, according to the study, nurses do not treat pregnant women because of fair of contracting Ebola, while the health facility at Kent does not have good toilet facility for patients.

The free healthcare initiative was introduced in 2010 by government to provide the basic health needs of pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five, as part of efforts to minimize mortality and morbidity among them.

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