Regional Officer North, Health For All Coalition, Alfred Turay, has revealed that the government hospital in Makeni lacks medical doctors. He said, “This situation is hurting patients in Makeni and its environs as only few medical personnel are present in the district. Also, this situation is alarming taken into cognizance the growing population in the Northern city.”
Mr. Turay was speaking after a nine-month pregnant woman, Fatmata Conteh, died while giving birth at the hospital, which he said was due to the fact that there was no doctor at the hospital when the lady went into labour.
“There was no doctor in the hospital during the material period and the lady had to die as a result,” he said, adding that it is a perennial problem afflicting pregnant women in Makeni and Bombali District as a whole.
There are just four medical doctors at the Makeni government hospital, including two gynaecologists – Dr. Taqi and Dr. Bah. Both were reportedly not at the hospital when the deceased went into labour. Mr. Turay said the deceased had triplets and that after giving birth to the first and second babies, she was delivered the third and final baby.
“It was during this period that she lost her life,” he said. “There was also no blood at the hospital’s blood bank and this compounded the situation leading to the death of Fatmata.”
Although nurses did their best but they could not save the third baby and the pregnant woman.
Turay said the situation is not just peculiar to Makeni, but the entire country as well, and that if things continue as they are more women would die while giving birth.
Child birth is a risky venture in Sierra Leone as many pregnant women, especially in rural areas, die as a result of complications or lack of basic care and medication during labour. Although the free healthcare initiative of government has reduced the figure considerably, yet many women still lose their lives or babies in the course of giving birth. The brain drain of locally trained doctors who leave the country in pursuit of greener pastures abroad is a major cause for concern.
“The government is doing her bits to improve the [health] sector but this will only strive when there are enough personnel to man health facilities,” Turay said.
He however averred that, “Sierra Leone is still struggling in the area of health care delivery; government needs to do more in this direction so that our pregnant women will not die while giving birth. Imagine if there was a medical doctor during Fatama’s delivering period, she would not have lost her life.”
Health for All Coalition is a civil society organisation which monitors the health sector, especially the delivery of free healthcare drugs in hospitals, clinics and peripheral health centres across the country.