By Gladys Fred Kole
A medic in Kajo-Keji County, Central Equatoria State, has urged the government to prioritize funding the healthcare sector and avoid relying too much on development partners.
Dr. Sekwat Saviour Clever is the medical director of Kajo-Keji County Hospital, better known as Mundari Civil Hospital.
He said the gov’t should not get used to depending entirely on health partners to fund healthcare programmes to avoid an unfillable gap at the time of their exit.
Dr. Saviour voiced his concern to the media during the country’s 12th independence anniversary, saying they, as health workers, are being faced with challenges.
The medical director cited the lack of fencing in Mundari Civil Hospital as one of the major challenges facing them and the admitted patients, especially during night shifts.
“I was on night duty, and drunkards were disturbing from all corners, and it is a security risk to the admitted patients in the facility,” Saviour said.
He stated that the state government has already made them a promise on fencing the hospital, and assessments were already done, but till now no work has been done.
Since Mundari Hospital was reopened on the 1st of February this year with support from MSF, Dr. Saviour stated that they are managing 70% of the cases within the facility, which is the main referral hospital in the whole county.
“The hospital has no administration block, a lack of renovations, and we are also faced with the challenge of mobility.” Saviour pinned some of their challenges.
Kajo-Keji County as a whole has 50 health facilities, but only 23 are working. One hospital, and the rest are PHCC and PHCU.
Most of the facilities are not working because they were vandalized and are now inaccessible due to poor roads and lack of partners to revamp them after the war.
Dr. Saviour has also urged the government to revise the issue of medical workers incentives that they receive to motivate them to deliver better services.
“The incentive that was designed in February 2019 with the current economic situation is really not helping anymore. For example, as the medical director, I only earn 15,000 SSP yet I coordinate the entire county with no transport means at all.” Dr. Saviour complained.
He stressed that health is a key sector, yet they (medics) don’t have mobility.
“It would have been good if they could factor in the hospital’s mobility; coordinating the whole county without means of transport is difficult.”
“Technical good doctors will not last long here unless gotten on direct admission by the government; it is even hard to get a doctor who has worked with the private sector to work with us,” Saviour pointed out.
Medicine San Frontier, or MSF, in partnership with the state ministry of health, resumed secondary-level healthcare services in Kajo-Keji civil hospital in February this year.
MSF has a project that is running for five years in the hospital until 2027, with the hope of renewal if all goes well.
The hospital has been partially renovated by MSF to provide secondary-level healthcare services relating to emergency and intensive care, medical and surgical emergencies, and pre-delivery care for pregnant women presenting complications.
It also handles delivery and obstetrical surgeries in case of complications, medical care for sick newborn babies, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, and care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in collaboration with other partners.
Dr. Saviour said MSF had brought back the hopes of the people of the county, adding that the hospital currently has 128 working staff.
He further underlined that lack of fuel is another huge challenge facing the hospital, especially in cases of referrals.
Saviour said in referral cases, MSF only services the hospital ambulance, while fuel rests on the budget of the relatives of the patients.
The medical director added that any concern about a referral case from Mundari Hospital’s health partner is not part of it. It only facilitates cases within the county.