By Fatoumatta K Jallow
Mr Ousman Sillah the National Assembly Member of Banjul North Constituency on Tuesday 2 May 2017, visited hospitals and schools in his constituency in a fact finding mission.
Mr Sillah explained that he was doing so in his capacity as a national assembly member who is serving his constituency in particular and the whole country. He pointed out that the national assembly is an oversight institution. “I felt it is necessary to visit public institutions within Banjul such as hospitals and schools to discuss with the staff to find out the challenges they are experiencing in terms of the services they are rendering and to see how best to address those issues at the level of the national assembly.
“I have been to the laboratory and some departments in the hospital and also spoke to the PRO of the Hospital regarding the challenges they are facing and also went to the Polyclinic where I spoke with the matron. I went to the Gambia Senior Secondary School also to find out the challenges they are facing so that I can raise those issues in the national assembly so that they can be addressed”.
He said as part of the health committee in the National Assembly he is taking this up at the level of that committee championing these issues to ensure that the concerns that are affecting the health sector are taken up at that level so that they can be addressed.
He added that he is not part of any education committee but will be engaging his colleagues to address this issue.
At the Gambia Senior Secondary School, Mr Lamin M D Jaiteh Principal of the school said their main challenges are lack of good infrastructure and facilities because the structure was built for 500 students but now the school is occupied by up to 2230 students.
He said toilets are also a major concern. He added that the school is more of a science school but that they don’t have a standard laboratory for the science students, which is a major challenge to be addressed.
At Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the PRO said they lack some very important equipment, consumables and other items.
Regarding personnel, he lamented the lack of nurses. “We are having more doctors than nurses now, which is a very big problem,” he said.
Lamin Drammeh, the matron of the Polyclinic said they lack working consumables, furniture and computers; that they in fact have only one computer. He also lamented the lack of staff and mobility which makes them unable to refer a sick person as soon as possible, which is very risky.
He added that they don’t have a standby generator.