Sinoe County’s only major health center, the F. J. Grant Memorial Hospital, is sadly in a deplorable condition and dirty even as its staff strives to provide daily medical treatment to over 400 out-patients.
A tour of the hospital by this newspaper found the hospital’s roof leaking profusely, the floor tiles shattered and the bathrooms disgusting with rusty tubs and toilet facilities.
The F.J. Memorial Hospital, constructed and dedicated in 1959 and named in memory of a famous traditional herbalist – Francis Johnson Grant, still has its original dull and stink paint.
The hospital isn’t fenced, which puts the privacy and safety of the hospital and its patients at risk. Staff told our reporter that the lack of fencing leaves the hospital vulnerable to thieves.
Electricity and water are also serious challenges to the hospital, which is supplied with only 17 hours of current from an old and unreliable generator. Staff have to fetch water from a faraway well to provide water to the hospital.
Nurses pointed out to our reporter that there are no screens at the windows and doors and this inarguably poses a serious health hazard to in-patients who are continuously exposed to mosquitoes, other harmful insects and rodents. There are also no fans in any of the wards for males, females and children nor are there any fans at the nurses’ station.
There is always a shortage of detergents and disinfectants including soap, owing to insufficient supplies.
There are also no air conditioning in the pharmacy, maternity ward and doctors’ offices. Only the Emergency Room (ER) has an air-conditioner.
The Medical Director of the F. J. Grant Memorial Hospital, Dr. Joseph Gayflor, said the deplorable condition of the hospital puts the entire facility at risk of collapse. In such a situation, it is difficult to maintain and recruit staff owing to the unfavorable working environment.
Dr. Gayflor said the 56-year-old hospital needs a thorough renovation to last for another decade. He admitted that since his appointment in June 2014, he has been constantly pleading for renovation because of the deplorable and unhealthy state of the hospital, but to no avail.
Speaking to our reporter on Saturday after the tour of the hospital, Dr. Gayflor said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is aware of the current bad state of F. J. Grant Memorial because during a recent visit, she was given a briefing on the problems at the hospital.
He said UNOPS – the United Nations Organization of Special Projects – has assessed the hospital and he and the staff are still awaiting the commencement of the renovation.
Besides the unsafe situation of the facility for patients and health workers, Dr. Gayflor said the hospital lacks essential drugs, diagnostic equipment including X-ray, blood chemistry and typhoid regents for laboratory tests, among others.
“We are desperately and completely out of everything – the building is damaged; there are no essential drugs and regents for laboratory tests – we are simply on the verge of just being closed if the government and partners do not come to our rescue,” Dr. Gayflor said.
“This hospital needs attention and support to save and give life.”
Dr. Joseph further said the yearly allotment for the hospital, to the tone of US$100,000, is “very small.”
The County Health Officer (CHO), Dr. Wilmot Frank, could not be reached, but a staff at his office who begged to remain anonymous said the condition of the F.J. Grant Hospital is sad and wished that citizens of the county who are working in the private and public sectors as well as Sinoeans in the Diaspora would do something to galvanize support to renovate the hospital and provide the essential drugs and equipment.
The staff expressed the hope that Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyensuah, businessman and politician Dew Wleh Mason and D. Karn Carlor would lead the reformation of the hospital to “save and give life.”
Meanwhile, there are doubts among citizens and staff as well as the management of F. J. Grant that its renovation would take place prior to the July 26 festive celebrations in the county.
They said with 33 days to the 168th independence celebration there is still no sign of the renovation starting and if there should be a renovation, the repair of the entire hospital could not be completed before July 26.