Gambia’s main referral hospital—the Francis Small Teaching Hospital, is operating without a functional laboratory to conduct blood work test on patients, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The blood bank laboratory along the Independence Drive—next to the Telegraph Road is closed, sources said. There is no lab at the FSTH, as we file this report.

“There is no lab in this hospital. Patients are being sent to the Pakala Clinic to have their blood tested. Pakala clinic is owned by Dr. Gaye. There are two private labs in Banjul. In some occasions, some of these private labs are closed. Patients would have to wait until the labs are open to be tested,” said a concerned Gambian, who escorted one of his relatives to the former RVTH now called FSTH.

“The country’s health sector has crumbled. The patient, I accompanied to the Serre-Kunda clinic, was placed on board an ambulance not escorted by a nurse. She was just dumped in the ambulance with no nurse accompanying her. When she arrived in Banjul, there was no nurse to receive her. She was placed in a wheel chair and whisked into the hospital,” he added.

According to sources, the Ministry of Health has neglected this important sector. Since the appointment of the new Health Minister, she hasn’t visited the hospital to familiarize herself with the situation at the hospital.

“There is a humanitarian catastrophic at the FSTH. Patients are dying due to lack of medication; functional laboratory; sufficient beds for incoming patients; lack of food; and electricity to conduct operations. The main pharmacy lacks basic drugs. Patients are being referred to private pharmacies to get prescribed drugs. Patients cannot be tested in this hospital, due to lack of lab,” said our source.

FSTH officials could not be reached for immediate comment. The Ministry of Health could also not be reached for their own side of the story.

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