LOCAL VIEWPOINTBy Salem Ahmad SahabAl-Madinah newspaper
Al-Madinah newspaper carried a story recently that Anti-corruption Commission representatives conducted an inspection tour of Afeef General Hospital. They detected 25 shortcomings in the health facility.
The areas of concern included a severe lack of space in the hospital, curtailing its efficiency to accommodate and serve patients and outpatients; acute shortage in the number of doctors and beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU); shortage in basic medicines; lack of some medical specializations, consultants and specialists; lack of surveillance cameras in the infants’ nursery; and anesthetists carrying out the role of ICU consultants.
The state of cleanliness and hygiene in the rest rooms was deplorable. Those facilities also lacked detergents and paper tissues. Air-conditioning units are rundown and maintenance works poor. Doctors’ residences lacked maintenance and care, which brings up the question: What part constitutes a hospital? Probably its old signboard and dilapidated administration building. This does not make a hospital!
If representatives of the Anti-corruption Commission were to visit the government-run general hospitals in the other small cities similar to Afeef, they would find the situation no better. This is the condition of the medical facilities in cities on the peripheries in general.
A relative, who is a specialist in laparoscopic operations of the abdomen, recently complained of being underemployed despite a monthly salary exceeding SR40,000. The machine that he works on had broken down, and the purchasing department of the Health ministry purchased expensive yet incorrect replacement parts. Hence, he shows up for work every day, but does not see any patients nor carry out any work.
His complaints have fallen on deaf ears. He is an example of the massive waste of public money. If the Ministry or Directorate of Health Affairs had carried out field inspections, they would have come to know that this doctor (the laparoscopic) was idle and not to be blamed for it.
Whoever hears speeches by the Minister of Health will believe that he is diligent, sincere and clearly wants to serve the citizen, but it seems the rot is too large to be plugged by one man. May Allah help our sick, especially the poor among them for they possess no alternatives and nothing but patience and supplication with services like those in Afeef General Hospital and the like.