The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale in response to the statements by the NRH CEO Dr. George Malefoasi describing bed shortages and other problems at the NRH, has said that the government has neglected the NRH for a very long time.
“This is not just because of the diversion of resources to Covid-19 related work. NRH, which is right under the nose of the national government is clear evidence of prolonged government neglect.
“How are we to expect provincial hospitals and rural health facilities, which are far removed from the daily gaze of the national government, to receive adequate attention?” the Opposition Leader questioned.
He said the NRH CEO pointed out the acute bed shortage currently experienced at the Emergency Department, and the in-patient wards, with patients sleeping on the floor, a matter Hon. Wale said is just the tip of the ice-berg.
“There are far more serious problems at the NRH that have been neglected by the government for so long. The basic and most serious of these problems is the fact that clinical governance is almost non-existent. And this important matter continues to receive next to no attention from the government. There is a level of incompetence in this neglect that must be addressed,” says Hon. Wale.
Further, Hon. Wale said that he has received complaints from patients that nurse attendance at NRH is particularly poor.
“There seems to be no control over attendance, and this puts additional pressure on doctors working the shifts. And patients have also complained that nurses are often administering treatment doses at wrong times and with wrong dosage,” says the Opposition Leader.
Hon. Wale said, these are very serious concerns that NRH, and the Ministry of Health must immediately address, but that it points to inadequacies in nursing training as well.
Hon. Wale said there are obviously inadequacies in our nursing training if nurses don’t turn up for work at all or not on time, and are administering medicines with wrong dosage.
“Although there is no statics on this particular problem, Hon. Wale said the government must not delay in eliminating nurse absenteeism and medicines dosage issues. There must be accountability for what should be fairly basic management issues,” the Opposition Leader stressed.
A Parliamentary inquiry into these issues was conducted in 2009, and it seems the situation has not been irreversibly addressed.
Hon. Wale said given that this situation has been going on for such a long time, it is clear that the Ministry of Health is unable to deal with it.
“It seems they only see the obstacles and are unable to see solutions to the challenges. There is a sense of resignation on the part of the Ministry in dealing with the NRH issues there is a lot of talk, but little sustainable curative action,” said Hon. Wale.
Hon. Wale calls on the Prime Minister to seek external help to study the challenges, and bottlenecks at NRH in the first instance, and recommend long term solutions that must include not only quality infrastructure facilities, adequate equipment and medical supplies, but must also include a robust modern clinical governance system.
He said many countries have come through similar development challenges in their healthcare systems, and it is important that we seek to benefit from their experiences. NRH can be and must be better than it is. Let’s be ambitious for NRH, said Hon. Wale. We owe it to our healthcare professionals who work there, and also to the patients and the public to make NRH better.
“The NRH nightmare is due solely to neglect. Perpetual crisis management will simply not do anymore, Hon. Wale further.