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 A hostile guard and x-ray machine
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Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 06 Sep 2020 :  05:18:12  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
LETTERS TO GAMBIA

A hostile guard and x-ray machine
By Baba Galleh Jallow


Dear Mother Gambia,

May peace be upon you and your people and may you always be known as the smiling coast of West Africa. Even in times of hardship such as these corona days, may your smile dazzle the world and may your heart and the hearts of your people be soft on truth and justice and be hard on injustice and untruths. And may you and your people be always inclined towards kindness and mutual goodwill. And may you have ears to listen to my concerns Mother Gambia, the concerns of which I have undertaken to write this series of letters to you.

And may you know, Mother Gambia, that these concerns are many and complex. And they have been with us for so long that they now seem natural. But they are not natural. And they are not normal. And it is the normalization of these abnormal concerns in our society that inspires me, your son, to pick up the pen and write to you. So that we can chat, Mother Gambia. So that we can have a conversation on why these concerns exist, why they persist, and how best to address them. This conversation is urgent because all of these concerns are causing anything from embarrassment, discomfort, and often untold pain and suffering to your dear people Mother Gambia, your dear children who have no one else to look up to but you.

You must forgive me, Mother Gambia. We all know that things are not easy in this our small part of the world, not necessarily because we are fated to live uneasy lives, but because we have not done those things that will enable us to live easy lives, or at least that will help us relieve some of that pain and discomfort your people experience day in and day out, month in, month out, year in, year out as a result of difficult situations that in my humble opinion, you can easily resolve if only you put your mind to it. For these are difficult situations that you do not lack the resources to address Mother Gambia. And they are situations that degrade your beauty and the humanity of your people, your children.

For some time I did not know where to start, Mother Gambia. I did not know which concern to address with you first. This is because everywhere I look, there are concerns, all of them troubling, all of them inimical to your health and the health of your children, and all of them deserving of urgent and immediate attention from you. And then I had occasion to visit the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and had occasion to visit the X-Ray Unit where the subject of this first letter to you presented itself in a finality that defied argument.

Let me tell you how it all happened. When I arrived at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital Mother Gambia, the first thing I felt was the unbridled and unnecessary hostility of a security guard at the main door. A tall and slim fellow, the guard wore a mask due to Corona virus and held a small bottle on one hand and a small device with which he checked visitors’ temperature on the other. He spoke to me in a voice that was perhaps not angry, but that was clearly hostile and determined to prove that right that moment, at the gate of that hospital, he was the boss and that he had the power to deny me entry if he so chose, because “that’s what memo said. Everyone who come to hospital must go to emergency first.” It seemed futile to argue that I had an appointment and that my case was not an emergency. And when he finally decided to let me go for my appointment with the good doctor, the hostile security guard checked my temperature for Covid-19 with his small machine and from the bottle he had in his hand, sprayed a loose stream of soap and water into my palms. I noticed that he did not check to see what my temperature reading was. So I just had to have the machine pointed at my forehead and soap water sprayed on my hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19. And then I was good to go.

The hostile guard at the gate was just the first strange encounter I had at the hospital that day, Mother Gambia. My second strange encounter was with the X-Ray Unit where I was sent by the doctor. The small building housing the unit looks more like an old dilapidated chapel from the 1960s than a space for performing x-rays in 2020. Just outside on either side of its door were too long wooden benches packed with patients, most of them women. I noticed that one of the waiting women was repeatedly crying “woi” and obviously suffering from great pain.

The inside of the building was small and poorly lit, and in one of the rooms to which I was shown after about half an hour’s wait sat what I was told is the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital’s only x-ray machine, a machine that, like the brick room housing it, looks like a relic from the colonial era. When I asked if there weren’t any other x-ray machines, someone said that machine was in fact Gambia’s only publicly-owned x-ray machine in the entire country! Its sight and the way it is operated gave me the shock of my life and said to me, you must write to your Mother Gambia about this x-ray machine, and tell her what you saw!

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2020 :  05:04:30  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
LETTERS TO GAMBIA

A hostile guide and x-ray machine – 2

By Baba Galleh Jallow


Dear Mother Gambia,

After reading the first part of my letter to you, someone said there is in fact a second x-ray machine at Serekunda General Hospital. My response was that’s good. But my feeling is even if we have another x-ray machine at Serekunda General Hospital, I hope it is not like the one at Banjul, and two are certainly far from enough. We should have more and better x-ray machines at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, at Serekunda, Bwiam, Farafenni, Bansang and elsewhere. The ancient x-ray machine I saw at Banjul is clearly well beyond its “use by” date. It should be retired and replaced. And it should have several other companions at the hospital and be housed in much better premises.

The x-ray machine at the hospital in Banjul has what looks like a large steel slab upon which patients lie to have their x-rays done. At first sight, and for some strange reason, the steel slab reminded me of the steel torture slabs of the shah of Iran on which victims were literally fried. Victims were strapped to those slabs, a switch was pulled and within minutes the slab became a red hot piece of steel. But this was no torture slab of course, and I couldn’t help wonder at the nature of the object it called to mind.

Anyway, Mother Gambia. As I lay on the large steel slab, I could not help thinking that someone could get corona virus from that slab. I hope that slab is sanitized after each patient. If it is not, it could well be a transmitter of diseases simply because patients with different ailments have to lie on that same slab to have their x-rays taken. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes lying on that slab to have my x-rays done. It was a very cumbersome process.

The nurse had you lie on the slab and helps you into the right position. Then she picks up a film and places it on what looks like an old, rusted heavy iron plate. This she inserts into a hole on the side of the metal slab; then she goes behind what looks like a small door and from there, I imagine she pulls a switch or presses a button. The dull red light on the projector above you blinks, and the machine loudly groans as your x-ray is taken. The nurse then pulls out the large iron plate, carefully takes the film, and goes out into another room where I imagine she checks it out. A few minutes later, she comes back for another shot, repeating the whole cumbersome process above. After about 15 to 20 minutes, the nurse said I was done. Then I was asked to go and wait outside again. I was called about 20 minutes later to go and collect my x-rays.

It was while I collected my x—rays at the large open window of the small cubicle that served as a registration and collection point for patients that I had another shocking experience at the hospital that day, Mother Gambia: I learned that the x-ray films produced from the old machine have to be placed in the sun to dry, or if there was no sun, hung near a fan to dry! I dared not imagine what could happen, Mother Gambia, if there was no sun and no electricity to run the machine and the lone stand fan I saw in a small adjacent room blowing away at x-ray films. Perhaps NAWEC does not “go” at the hospital as they do in our homes Mother Gambia, or if they do, that there is an alternative power source to keep the machine running and help dry the films when there is no sun! Under normal circumstances Mother Gambia, taking a patient’s x-ray and getting the films ready for the doctor takes 5 - 10 minutes or less. At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the process took more than an hour from the moment of registration to the moment of picking up the films! If it takes more than an hour a patient, how many of those numerous patients will have their x-rays done and ready in a day? That question exercised my mind as I waited, shocked at the fact that at Gambia’s premier public hospital, x-ray films have to be dried in the sun or placed near a fan to dry!

Now come on, dear Mother Gambia. You certainly can do better by your children. You certainly can afford to buy more state of the art x-ray machines for our hospitals. You certainly can build a better space for the x-ray unit at the hospital in Banjul. If you invest one million dollars in x-ray machines Mother Gambia, you can get at the very least five brand new machines, if not more. And then you can invest another million dollars in a new building for the x-ray unit. Two million dollars only and you can provide world class x-ray services to your people at the hospital. Surely you can afford much more than that Mother Gambia. Surely you do care for your children enough to invest that much money in new x-ray machines and a new x-ray unit building at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. As things stand now, there is an unfolding tragedy at the x-ray unit in Banjul. Your children are crying in pain at its doors from hour to hour, day to day, month to month. Please hear their pain and do something now!

Over and above the x-ray machine Mother Gambia, my little asking around at the hospital suggested that the two absolute requisites for the improvement of conditions at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital are an improved administration and adequate funding. It appears that the hospital is severely underfunded, and that when doctors submit their requests, they get fractions of the funds they requested to purchase much needed equipment. There is a tone of frustration in the voices of your hard working doctors, Mother Gambia. Please give them the funds they need to keep your people healthy, for a healthy people make a healthy nation. You know why you don’t need unhealthy people Mother Gambia.

Related Topic: https://www.gambia.dk/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17164

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10744 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2020 :  15:34:13  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"... my little asking around at the hospital suggested that the two absolute requisites for the improvement of conditions at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital are an improved administration and adequate funding. It appears that the hospital is severely underfunded"

Unfortunatly with the galloping advances in technology that take place almost daily medical equipment used in hospitals are especially at risk as wonder machines that take the place of outdated vintage machines are available BUT AT GREAT COST,which is MONEY that FEW African Countries have,Gambia being a TAX BASED economy where the main occupation of the population is SUBSISTANCE farming MONEY from the administration is NOT AVAILABLE,HOWEVER there are SOME RICH PEOPLE and COMPANIES who have so much money that they can well afford to SPONSOR Up to date hospital machines,and of course get a warm glow whenever their name is mentioned in the media for doing good works for their fellows................Hmmmmmmmmmm

I think it's a great idea But will the rich will part with their money to help others is another question, maybe those who could become "sponsors" would rather let their money grow into an even larger mountain.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 13 Sep 2020 15:39:57
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Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2020 :  16:32:35  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmmmmm? It’s not always about expecting Sponsors or handouts from outside but prioritising. Most part of the national budget used on the army or state house could be used in the health and education sectors which is not the case at the moment.


A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10744 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2020 :  21:48:30  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"It’s not always about expecting Sponsors or handouts from outside ..."
Really Momodou ?

To preserve peace and tranquility in Gambia,then SECURITY must be of paramount importance to ANY administration,to TRY to protect entry through the gaps in the porous borders of Gambia,also ECOWAS forces have to be paid by the administration that payment will not come cheaply,if there is NO MONEY coming in from the tourist industry or the airport ( IN GAMBIA)and the horror of the Covid Virus which must have an effect on the average Gambian.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 14 Sep 2020 00:23:54
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Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  09:29:13  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Toubab, ECOMIG is not in the national budget!

In fact we can do without an inflated defence ministry because we only need a strong police force just like before the establishment of the Army. Armies are just a disaster in Africa.


A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  10:40:37  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by toubab1020

…….she carried on directing traffic with only sandals...….

Sandals?? She took her shoes off and was bare foot.


A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10744 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  11:46:22  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just testing pleased you noticed my intentional "mistake"


quote:
Originally posted by Momodou

quote:
Originally posted by toubab1020

…….she carried on directing traffic with only sandals...….

Sandals?? She took her shoes off and was bare foot.




"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 15 Sep 2020 11:48:20
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Momodou



Denmark
9907 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  13:36:52  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This topic is being derailed. It’s about Baba Galleh’s experiences at the x-ray unit of EFSTH.


A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10744 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  16:44:04  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
OK YOUR site sorrry you feel that this topic has come off the tracks, BUT personally I read Baba Galleh’s experiences as being on a much wider plane, about the lack of NEW machinary to replace old,the hostility of the guard etc.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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