The Director of Health Services, , has hinted that the number of available ambulances in the country could not meet the increasing demand, adding that the country’s main referral hospital must manage with the two ambulances at their disposal.
The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) is currently struggling with an acute ambulance problem as the entire hospital depends on only two ambulances to ferry patients.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMD) at EFSTH, Dr. Ammar Jafari, on Wednesday, highlighted the dire situation at the hospital as a result of the inadequacy of ambulances there.
He informed The Voice that only one of the two ambulances at the hospital was properly functioning as the other one was secondhand with some issues.
However, according to Dr. Bittaye, the Health Ministry has an entire nation to serve as regards ambulances and the country’s main referral hospital in Banjul must manage with what they have.
“We have a whole country to supply. We have many ambulances. Some ambulances have issues whilstsome are undergoing maintenance. The two ambulances are enough for them. They have to maintain it well and we cannot take other hospital’sambulances and give them,” Dr. Bittaye told The Voice in an exclusive interview yesterday.
He explained that people in rural areas also need ambulance services and rhetorically asked whether the ambulances in the countryside should be taken away and brought to the coast.
“How do they expect those people to facilitate their movement, especially the pregnant women, who are always in need of urgent care? All places are relevant to us,” he stressed.
According to the director of health services, the Health Ministry’s desire to ensure the availability of ambulances across the country led to the distribution of 80 ambulances countrywide.
He, however, disclosed that some of the 80 ambulances were being maintained as they had some issues.
“Having two is good and the second-hand does not mean it is not functioning. We are ordering ambulances and when they come, we will give priority to the hospitals that need them most,” Dr. Bittaye said.
He said EFSTH should manage the status quo for now.