Powering a Maternity Hospital in Sierra Leone

A maternity hospital in Sierra Leone was left without power for two weeks. This caused several deaths and because mosquitoes were drawn to the hospital, many people contracted malaria. Mafereh Kargbo, a patient at PCMH, mentioned the lack of involvement from government officials. “The three political parties need to come here and see how people are suffering,” she said. “For the fact that elections are around the corner, if people are dying everyday, who do these people expect to vote for them?” The Concord Times was the only newspaper to print a story on the situation and immediately afterward, the hospital regained the power they required to run properly. Read the original article below

PCMH without light for two weeks

 

By Ben Samuel Turay, The Concord Times, Freetown, Sierra Leone

 

One of the largest hospitals in the country has been without power for more than two weeks, leaving patients to die and suffer, even as political parties say health is an important election issue. Doctors at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) say there has not been enough fuel for hospital generators and patients have not been able to get proper treatment. On one day last week, there were three corpses in PCMH passageways. “The problem is the fault of the bosses,” said Joseph Bomo Komeh, a medical doctor at PCMH. “Patients have been getting malaria because there is no power. It is too dark and the bosses cannot afford more fuel.” He said this problem has been recurring and the hospital has now gone up to two weeks without light or power, which is not good for the patients.

 

Komeh, who has worked at the hospital for more than four years, said he has a cordial relationship with the patients, despite the situation. Saidu Kamara’s wife recently gave birth at PCMH. He said he was charged Le 700,000 to admit her and provided Le 400,000 as a deposit. He is angry that he paid this much money and the hospital is without lights or basic services. “When they want to do an operation, they light a small generator for the theatre,” he said. “But for the entire hospital as a whole, there is no light.”

 

Mafereh Kargbo, a patient at PCMH, said she is managing despite the poor conditions. “The three political parties need to come here and see how people are suffering,” she said. “For the fact that elections are around the corner, if people are dying everyday, who do these people expect to vote for them?” Kargbo said the entire country, not just PCMH, needs much more attention focused on health issues and skyrocketing drug prices. “When the SLPP was rallying, they threw rice at people in the streets,” she said, angrily. “Why didn’t they take the money spent on that rice and spend it on this hospital and other hospitals in the country?”

 

Tenneh Kamara lies in another ward. She gave birth to twins on Wednesday and said in order for there to be free and fair elections the politicians need to visit hospitals and see what exists in them. “One vote can make you a president,” she said. “For the last week we were using candles in the hospital for light. These are some of the areas politicians need to come and see.”

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