By Mariama Marong
Sukuta Health Center had been grappling with a lack of medical equipment for many years. Philanthropist Basiru Barrow, a native of Sukuta, has provided his community with a scanning machine for pregnant women to reduce the burden of antenatal mothers suffering at the health centre.
According to many pregnant women, the scanning machine will help determine the condition of their fetus and it will also determine their health as mothers.
Speaking to Binta Badjie, a resident of Bijilo, said Sukuta health center lacks a lot of materials when it comes to women issues, especially pregnant women.
“Before the advancement of scanning machines in Sukuta, we were referred to scanning centers outside Sukuta. We either go to KMC or Brikama to have a scan. It was a difficult moment for us but now, just a few minutes walk we have a scanning center that charges us nothing less than D100 and sometimes the machine is being brought to the hospital,” she said.
She noted that the government should have provided the health center with a scanning machine.
“Sukuta Health Center has many catchment areas to cover and a health center as big as Sukuta without having a single scanning machine for pregnant women is very serious and the health department should have looked into the situation and address the problem,” she said.
Mariama Bojang from Wallinkama expressed that during her second pregnancy, she went through a difficult moment because there was no scanning machine at the center, saying she had to travel to Abuko to find a scanning machine to ascertain the progress of her pregnancy.
“This scanning machine has relieved our burden and it made life easier for us,” she said.
“I called on other philanthropists to assist the health centers in the Gambia because even now women are dying during childbirth.”Binta Sidideh, a resident of Sukuta, said it is important for pregnant women to have proper scanning to reduce maternal mortality rates.
“I heard that the government is fighting maternal mortality but not many health centers are having good facilities or even machines to scan babies. This is very unprofessional of the health services delivery in the country,” she said.
She urged the government to provide support to antenatal mothers and avoid making false claims.
Speaking to the senior community health nurse and midwife at Sukuta Health Center, Aunty Mariama Manneh said that the health center was having a scanning machine but it got damaged, thus the center is relying on outside for scanning.
She noted that the ministry of health is working on providing scanning to the center. Nonetheless, she commended the donor for providing the scanning machine to the community.
“The reason why we are charging a fee of hundred dalasis is because we buy all products needed for the scanning and sometimes it is free for some women who cannot afford it,” she said, adding that the scanning center is on rent and it is paid from the charge money.
Manneh said at least four or three scanning is needed for a pregnancy which helps to determine fetus shape and movements to determine whether all the structures are in place and determine the growth of structural abnormalities as well.
Basiru Barrow, the philanthropist who is a constructor by profession, said donating a scanning machine came as his sister passed away during childbirth due to lack of scanning at Sukuta health center.
“The demise of my sister was what motivated me to donate the scanning machine to my community…I don’t want anyone to experience what I went through… my sister died because of not having access to regular checkup before delivery. I don’t want to see any woman die of pregnancy due to lack of scanning,” he said.
Mr Barrow noted that all pregnant women need proper medical examination and a safe place to have successful delivery.
“That is why two of my nieces have ventured into nursing to be able to assist women, because the death of my sister is still hurting us,” he said.
He noted that the health center needs a lot of equipment in order to serve quality health services to the people living in and within the community.