Let’s make Juba Teaching Hospital a better place for our patients to find rest
By Atok Dan Baguoot
“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions” Barack Obama.
In any makeup of a normal society, there are rare places that deserve special protection and treatment because of their sensitivities and of these places are hospital, prison, toilet/latrine and kitchen. At any zero hour, any of us can just be a sudden visitor to them because of reasons that are beyond our understandings. For the sake of this discussion, graveyard can just wait for it is attended after our bodies are ready to be surrendered to bacteria to do their last feast on them. Somebody might talk of bar as one of those places but let me say no.
My recent visit to Juba Teaching hospital suddenly came this month when I had almost a fatal accident on my way to office after my cycle head collided with a speedy car driven by a young boy who had just left the bar. In less than what I cannot know if it was second, I found my shape turned different from what I used to know.
In that rare ordeal, the only two places that came in my mind were hospital and prison as justice and health were in rival. In the rival of justice and health, traffic police rushed me to nearby police station to record evidences of the accident and latter proceeded to hospital to rescue life as second option. First aid wasn’t anything to talk of there because justice took almost upper priority.
Skull and spinal cord X-rays were done after I waited in a long slow queues attended by OPD whose cases were somehow less severe than mine according to me. While itching in Juba Teaching Hospital waiting for health wizards to work on me, what I called justice rivaling health came as police decided to rush me to station instead of hospital for second aid if first aid had became almost impossible. What was lingering in the mind of police officer was to see justice done before rescuing life, awkward experience I have ever seen.
In fact, Juba Teaching as the only referral hospital in the region sounds more than what it is because it has all senior medical practitioners in the region and it was also accorded first place by GoSS Ministry of Health with other two teaching hospitals of Wau and Malakal.
As dictated in the first aforementioned paragraph, hospital unlike prison is a place that none can never vow to visit because it is a departure checkpoint both to heaven and hell defending on one destination as our creeds.
A colleague of mine narrated to me a story during his studies in Khartoum when Sadiq Al Mahdi was a head of state. Director of Kobar Prison had been complaining to Sadiq’s government to allocate some funds for renovating the prison but this request fall on deaf ears and in less than a month, the National Islamic Front (NIF) of NCP took over power through military coup. Sadiq Al Mahdi and his group were chuckled and taken to Kobar Prison and in less than two days they started citing horrible experiences of the cell. They complained that the condition of the prison is inhuman and urged the very director to ask the government to do something at least to improve the condition of the prison.
It makes sense when one says prison and hospital are our meeting points in life hence, deserve special treatment. During my accident, I didn’t see the hospital well because I was in total worry of myself until yesterday when I went back again to visit a relative admitted. My eyes came in contact with what this centre is all about. There are no drugs and the little that could be there are bought from a nearby drug and given financial capabilities of our poor rural population who borne the brunt of war and chronic ailments that need special attention, we end up them to death.
The place is really short of even a third world standard. I saw a patient discharged and her bed was occupied immediately by another standby patient who was lying down on naked floor. In Juba Teaching Hospital, I think doctors might have forgotten of contagious diseases or it is either an environment of I “don’t care” atmosphere. Patients share beds; meanwhile other auxiliary services are nowhere to be found. In such a situation could someone like me blame the innocent doctors or innocent patients or even innocent government that complains of lack of money to install modern facilities in wards? Of course, even innocent diseases can’t be blamed because the environment is welcoming for them to harbor.
I think innocent God has to be blamed for having created those innocent diseases which act as visas’ issuers to heaven and hell.
Our prisons and hospitals are really neglected while our politicians are busy bickering over what positions to occupy so that they overhaul their pipeline of wealth. To them this place is just like Jupiter and Plato which are only found on paper. To them also, death in Aga Khan Hospital is more rewarding than in Juba Teaching because while reading ones’ eulogy, it has prestige to them in the grave kingdom not knowing that it is only a mere gate way of intercepting to hell.
Specialized obituary writers scoop a lot of money from them when one has a long biography to write and this depletes left behind family members from cash for settling today’s costly funerals. Given volatility of our politics, one might never be sure of what will happen overnight regardless of our positions in society. Of course, the high class thinks Nairobi is always a sure place to find life but if emergency occurs as it is called emergency and Nairobi became far.
Besides that, God might love ordinary people more and that’s why he created them many, as well they have special place in anyway whether be it delivery of services. Let’s make Juba Teaching Hospital a place for betterment of our health
Atok Dan is a journalist working for Southern Sudan Radio & TV and can be reached at [email protected], 0917221411/0955410005.