The oldest referral hospital in Nimba County, the Ganta United Methodist Hospital (GUMH) is said to be on the brink of collapse, due to what the management claimed is the shortage of drugs and other supplies.
The associate administrator of the Hospital, Mr. Patrick Martor, told this paper that presently, the hospital is facing an acute shortage of drugs and neither has a vehicle—nor an ambulance to enhance operations at the hospital.
He disclosed that the government had stopped all subsidies to the hospital since last June, as the hospital was a faith-based organization.
He added that what the hospital is currently receiving from the government is what is referred to as “Legislative Support:” about US$100,000 annually. One-half of this was given last year; the other is yet to come.
“The monthly budget for running this hospital is about US$90,000, which includes, salary, fuel, drugs, among others things,” he said.
Due to the shortage of drugs at the hospital, people are seen around in pharmacies and drug stores, buying drug to be taken to the hospital to treat their sick relatives.
“I am going to find drug stores around Ganta for my sick daughter; she has been hospitalized in this hospital for the past week,” said a young lady.
“We were given slips with a listing of medicines to buy so I have to rush,” she added.
What happens when it is a holiday or hours during which all of the drug stores are closed? “We then leave everything to God or wait until daybreak or when the stores open.”
There had been no film for the x–ray machine in the hospital for the past two weeks.
Mr. Patrick Martor: “We used to buy film for cheap, but now the price has gone up and we do not have enough funding. So when we finish the few we have left in stock, we have to look for funding to get some more.”
The salary payment is the key problem the management of GUMH has been faced with since October last year. This is something that brought a ‘go-slow’ among workers after their salaries had not been paid up to mid-November.
The Ganta United Methodist Hospital is one of the busiest referral hospitals in Nimba where patients from all around Nimba and even beyond are brought, despite the shortage of drugs and other needed facilities.
When health workers strike last year, most of the critical patients in Bong County were referred to Ganta for treatment.
The financial constraint the hospital faces is creating hardship for citizens who have their loved one at the hospital where all fees have gone up.
“Fees here are so hard, it takes a lot of money to keep someone here for days; there is no blood, the fees for drips and blood bags have all gone up. We need help,” said a caretaker from the adult ward.
The hospital, with employees of about 256, is struggling to cope with the many challenges it faces serving the people.
Meanwhile, Mr. Patrick Martor is calling on the citizens, including, the government to support the hospital fully in every sector saying, “This hospital is no different from Tappita or Sanniquellie’s hospitals that are receiving adequate funding from government; if they are forced to close because of funding it would be to the detriment of all Ganta’s citizens.”