GBLOSEO TOWN, River Cess – As election day draws near, healthcare will be one of the issues on the minds of voters. In Gbloseo Town, 45 kilometers away from the River Cess capital of Cestos, voters will likely think of their community clinic when they cast their ballots.
The clinic is one of the 19 government health facilities in the county and it is expected to serve a population of 2,327. But so poor is the condition of the building that health workers often spend their time outside the building and in the community until there is an emergency to attend to.
On a recent fact-finding tour in the area, The Bush Chicken observed that the entire roof of the building is moldy and decayed. Every room is leaking, with almost all the ceilings gone.
“When it is raining, we have to stand in the water to treat the patients,” nurse aid Charles Toby said. “This whole building needs to be rehabilitated.”
The wooden doors and windows are in such poor state that the doors are now lying against the walls of the building. According to Toby, the clinic staff uses chairs to lock the doors, because all the locks are damaged.
One room is simultaneously being used as short stay, storage room, and a laboratory. The single bed, meant mostly for pregnant patients coming from far, has a mattress that has no cover.
Patients who return from the clinic complain that instead of being provided drugs at the clinic, they are given prescriptions to purchase drugs from outside vendors.
The dispensary is completely out of drugs with empty containers and cartoons sitting on the shelves.
Dispenser Emmanuel Toby told The Bush Chicken that it has been a month now since he received drugs from the County Health Team.
“We have been out of drugs since April,“ Toby said. “In July, we received little drugs from the county health team, but that did not last for a week.”
Mercy Gonsen, the officer in charge of the facility, weighed in on the urgency of the problems facing the clinic: “We can transfer almost all the cases that come here because of the current condition of the clinic.”
During The Bush Chicken’s visit to the facility, a patient who had fallen from a tree was brought and immediately transferred to the St. Francis Hospital 45 km away for treatment.
The clinic’s problems are surprising given that Rep. Byron Zahnwea, in whose district the clinic is located, served as county health officer before he was elected in 2014. Clinicians at the facility said Zahnwea has made several stops at the facility, but he has not yet responded to their requests.
District health officer Amos Tamba said the County Health Team is aware of the building’s condition, but he did not say what is being done to improve the situation.
Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue