Residents of Yambio County in Western Equatoria State met last Tuesday with local government and health officials to discuss health problems in the state capital. The citizens have called on leaders to address the many problems which threaten the health of the community.
The forum was organized by the civil society organization groups in Yambio County who are working to bridge the gap between the local communities and the government in order to discuss matters pertaining to the welfare of the citizens.
During the discussion, various concerns were raised varying from Public Health and Hygiene and the State hospital.
The Chairman of the youth in Yambio County Mr. Mbiko Barakat criticized the local government and health officials for conducting too many workshops in Yambio town and in HIV/AIDS centers and yet the disease is spreading because people in the remote areas were not aware.
“In Western Equatoria State, the rate of HIV and AIDS is increasing every day. What is the Ministry of Health doing about this,” decried Barakat.
He reiterated that enough awareness had been created in urban centres; he claimed that most people in towns already know how to use condoms and understand the disease; the awareness campaigns should now target the rural areas.
Rev Jackson Bullen said that, “There are cases of insulting and insulting of patients in the hospital more especially women who are in labour pain. This issue need to be addressed. He said that the health workers at Yambio Hospital need to be taught on customer care ethics.
“I witnessed when my wife was being insulted in the hospital ward just because I was a vendor,” Bullen wondered.
There are two things that need to be addressed in the hospital according to Rev Bullen; ethics and customer care relations. “They should be taught how to handle a client whether in good health or not especially in Yambio hospital,” he advised the authorities.
Other concerns raised by the communities include, the dirty Yambio open market, contamination of the Nakpangau stream, fencing Yambio hospital, lack of essential facilities amongst others.
The communities also called upon the government to pay the doctors and nurses on time to enable them work effectively in the hospital.
They also complained of the malaria drugs being expensive in clinics as a result of the failure of the State hospital to supply more of the drugs since the rate of malaria was increasing daily.
In response to above concerns the representative of Yambio County authority John Abdalla reiterated that despite the dirtiness of the town the authority was working hard to resolve the issue.
Abdallah added that the County was also facing some challenges of not having a lorry to carry the garbage from the main town.
The Director of Primary Health Care in the State Ministry of Health Dr. Mark Wanga said that the Ministry has lots of challenges as the Country has just emerged from 21 years of civil war. He stated that, lack of motivation and poor pay also results to poor service delivery in the State hospital.
“Most of the people working in hospital are community health workers and some nurses who have not been properly trained. Most of them have been downsized but the few now present are not motivated,” said Dr. Mark.
There are a few qualified doctors and nurses in the State even though Western Equatoria State is hosting the National Health Institute for Nursing in Maridi that is being run by AMREF but the communities are not given a higher percentage as the host to benefit from the Institute.
Mark stressed that the Ministry of Health has wasted enough resources on employment not prioritizing health facilities in the hospital.
“We shall soon inspect all the clinics in town because some of the clinics end up deceiving patients by prescribing many expensive drugs to them,” he said.