The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh has confirmed that there is indeed a shortage of dialysis consumables at the Edward Francis teaching hospital. “What I can confirm is that we have a shortage of dialysis, but dialysis is available,” Jaiteh told Freedom radio Gambia on Thursday in an interview. His comments followed an opinion piece that was written by businessman Mbye Bahoum, who told this medium that the government’s main hospital in Banjul was operating without dialysis consumables. Bahoum also said poor patients had to come to his store in Banjul to buy dialysis.
PS Jaiteh hasn’t denied the dialysis shortage, but he was quick to point out that it is wrong for anyone to suggest that there is massive shortage of dialysis at the EFSTH.
“My message to patients is that I want to implore them to understand that there are challenges, but it is equally our concern and we have never relented in pursuing the cause to support the patients, to make sure that their needs are provided and we apparently doing that,” Jaiteh remarked.
Jaiteh has accused dialysis supplier businessman Mbye Bahoum of mobilizing dialysis patients to occupy his office to protest, a charge Bahoum, has denied. Bahoum says he was in Dakar when the patients occupied the Permanent Secretary’s office.
“But I also want them to understand and as I have explained to them, in one occasion they were mobilized by this Mr. Bahoum, you are talking about to come and demonstrate. In fact, most of the time because he is having agents everywhere in this country. Sometimes he will come to me personally and threatened me that patients will appear in my office and the next morning, I will see patients grouped at my office,” Jaiteh told me.
A local Gambian company called SEREMBA PHARMACEUTICAL, was the company that was contracted to supply dialysis consumables to the Health Ministry. Jaiteh wouldn’t disclose the owner of the company. He said he needed the proprietor’s consent before he could disclose his name.
Notwithstanding, Jaiteh, said SEREMBA PHARMACEUTICAL is a legitimate legally registered company. “ I deal with companies and not names. I need the person’s consent before I could disclose his name in a public interview,” Jaiteh remarked.
When asked as to what was responsible for the late arrival of the dialysis consumables, Jaiteh had this to say: “As you know, we are in a period of Covid, and Covid had affected a lot of things around the world and this has also affected international shipping and transportation chain, so, it has also affected economies in terms of financing and all that. In fact, getting a ship to come to The Gambia nowadays is not the easiest thing but we have them that we are in constant engagement with our supplier, and he has placed orders and orders are expected.”
According to Mr. Jaiteh, Mr. Bahoum, has been allegedly peddling defamatory allegations against him since he lost the contract for the supply dialysis consumables. He has warned Bahoum to cease and desist making false accusations against him and the Ministry, or otherwise actions would be taken against Bahoum.
“We have our records to show that Mr. Bahoum participated in this contract, in this bidding process, we went through a clean tender evaluation process, he lost the contract and we got GPPA’s approval to proceed and now he still doesn’t want to give up,” Jaiteh remarked.
In his reaction, Bahoum doubled down on his statement that Jaiteh and his procurement officer should take full responsibility for the current dialysis shortage in Banjul.
“One, I will blame the procurement officer himself, two, I will blame the Permanent Secretary, because I have told him this since October that this guy cannot supply. I have 14 letters that I wrote to him, he replied only once and he told me if you don’t take care, we will disbar you from any tendering at the Ministry. I have that letter,” Bahoum said.
“I wrote to him again and I said, look at this, now you cannot tell me, you have given him 180 days with an advance of five million dalasis, and still now he cannot deliver, still now you are saying you are going ahead with him and these patients they don’t have time to wait. Just imagine if I was not having dialysis in this country now, what would have happened? I want him to hear me. You die or you go to Senegal,” he added.
Bahoum says one of the reasons why he is not getting along with Jaiteh, is because he is not the type of person to be pushed around. He said he had executed his past contracts with the Health Ministry without any problem.
Bahoum said two of his family members have died because of kidney related illnesses. He has called on Jaiteh and his colleagues to expedite the importation of the dialysis consumables into the country.
The document published document is a letter that Mr. Jaiteh had wrote to Mr. Bahoum. Please read on.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai