Liberia: Phebe Hospital Lacks Gloves, Fuel and other Medical Supplies
Suakoko, Bong County – There is an acute shortage of essential medical supplies in the Phebe Hospital, according to attendants of patients and the doctors. Many doctors who spoke to FrontPageAfrica Friday, February 14, 2020, said there was a shortage of IV Fluids, angiocath needles, prongs, gloves and surgical masks.
“Despite of our repeated requests to the Government of Liberia to improve the supply nothing has been done,” a group of doctors told FrontPage Africa, adding, “even the thread used in stitching wounds and an essential ingredient during surgeries is in short supply.”
The hospital also lacks an adequate supply of surgical gloves and the attendants of the patients have to buy these from markets.
Beatrice, a patient on a ward, said, “We were told the stock of gloves has run out and we should buy them from the market.”
The acting medical director of the hospital, Dr. Jefferson Sibley, said, “It is the worst thing for this hospital to be short of gloves. It is not possible for a doctor of a referral hospital to touch a patient without gloves. The poor patients are left with no option but to buy it from the market.”
“We are facing serious medical shortages that affect how we do our work. Simple things such as gloves, bandages or needles are not easy to get. There are times when I’ve had to operate without surgical gloves. I use the short nonsterile gloves which we use for basic consultations.”Dr. Jefferson Sibley, Acting Medical Director, Phebe Hospital
Dr. Sibley also complained about the shortage of fuel to run the generator of the hospital. “Since September last year we have not received fuel from the government. And this is hurting our operations as a hospital. We are running on empty.”
“We will have no alternative but to shut the hospital if the current situation persists,” Dr. Sibley said.
Dr. Sibley added: “We are facing serious medical shortages that affect how we do our work. Simple things such as gloves, bandages or needles are not easy to get. There are times when I’ve had to operate without surgical gloves. I use the short nonsterile gloves which we use for basic consultations.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Sibley said, he attended to a woman who had a miscarriage, and had to do a pelvic examination using nonsterile gloves.
“The gloves are short, and I had to go right inside her. The blood went onto my arms; it was just oozing all over. I know the risk of being infected is high, but there’s nothing I can do if someone is in need of help,” he said.
Continuing, he added: “Every time I have to perform a procedure without adequate equipment, I’m scared I could get something like hepatitis B. If I’m working on a patient who is infected and I have a small cut I’m unaware of, I could be infected because it’s highly contagious — but in some situations one has to make some hard decisions.”
A Pharmacist of the hospital said for the past six months the hospital lacks supply of antibiotics, and patients have to purchase costly antibiotics from the market.
Theresa Siafa, who delivered a baby few days back, said, “I came to this hospital in the hope we would have to spend less here. We are poor, but in the past three days I have spent more than LD$ 10,000 on medicines, injections and antibiotics from the market.”
The doctors and the patients also complained about the unavailability of heating arrangements in the hospital which they consider to be of primary importance in a referral hospital. Besides FrontPage Africa observed Friday this there is dearth of beds and bed linen.