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Gender Committee Highlights Need for More Incubators at EFSTH

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Hon. Touma Njai, National Assembly Member for Banjul South

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The National Assembly Select Committee on Gender, Children, and Social Welfare have found that two to three premature babies are sharing one incubator at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH).

The Select Committee paid a courtesy call on the Chief Medical Director of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul. The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Fatoumatta Touma Njie, presented a report to the members, in which she said that the Chief Medical Director expressed his appreciation for receiving them.

Hon. Njie also said that the Chief Medical Director informed them that he needed the support of all partners, especially the National Assembly, to fulfill the objectives he has for the Gambia and the health sector.

“He (Chief Medical Director) informed the committee that he was appointed on the 3rd of August 2022 and started work immediately after he assumed office, according to him, the situation at the pediatric unit is unacceptable. Because two to three babies are in one incubator, which is unacceptable. 

“He also informed the committee that the unit is operating with only three incubators. The Committee found that the doors at the facility toilets are without lock and the condition of the sanitary is not satisfactory for human habitation,” she said. 

Hon. Njie informed the plenary that the Chief Medical Director had told the committee that some Gambians in Spain were interested in donating 10 incubators and 10 phototherapy units. However, the donations had not yet been received.

“The Chief Medical Director told the Committee that the subvention they reviewed from the Ministry of Health is D27 million for salaries. But sometimes they received D24 million and the OC is D2.6 million, but they received D1.8 million for the past three months. He also expressed that the mortality rate is very low compared to before. 

“He said that there is a challenge at the pediatrics districts unit. One of the challenges mentioned is the late referral of patients from other hospitals to EFSTH which he believes causes more deaths at the hospital,” Hon. Njie revealed.

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