By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ayder Specialized Hospital in Mekele, Capital of Tigray Region, one of the largest health facilities in northern Ethiopia, has failed to recover from the severe problems it faced after the two-year war occured in the northern part of the country, sources said.
Wazema (web news page) said that “there is a severe shortage of medicines and medical supplies at the hospital”. Moreover, hospital workers, including health professionals, are migrating to the interior of the country and there are some fleeing Ethiopia to foreign countries looking for better payment.
Public Relations Coordinator of Ayder Specialised Hospital, Birhane Gebremichael, told Wazema that although the hospital has been providing a wide range of services in northern Ethiopia, it is currently facing a major problem due to the lack of medical resources.
Birhane said that the hospital used to provide services not only to people of Tigray Region but also to other beneficiaries coming from Amhara and Afar Regions and sometimes even from Eritrea. However, the Hospital is not in a status where it can provide similar services due to lack of resources and the failure of the large medical machines, according to the Public Relations Coordinator.
This time “patients are sent to private health facilities for medical treatment,” Birhane said, adding that the situation is difficult after the war for the workers of the facility and even for Mekelle University medical students who pursue their studies in the hospital.
Birhane also pointed out that there are doctors, nurses and pharmacists who are leaving the hospital to the interior and abroad due to frustration in connection with the salary and the deteriorating conditions. “Although I don’t have the information at hand regarding how many workers have left the facility, I know for sure that the health professionals are migrating every now and then,” Birhane told Wazema.
Birhane said that the MRI and CT scan treatment machines were broken and the service was completely stopped. Apart from these problems, he pointed out that there are no blood test services which are not difficult to get in any primary hospital. Severe lack of medicine even for emergency patients are the major problem the specialised hospital has been facing, according to the Public Relation Coordinator.
Deputy Coordinator of Laboratory Department at Ayder Specialised Hospital, Dawit Samil, said that the 95 types of diagnostic services that used to be provided before the war have now been limited only to less than 30 diagnostic services. Dawit said that even basic examinations have been stopped and despite our repeated request to the Federal Pharmaceutical Supply Agency, the problems have not yet been resolved.
Dawit said that the payment of salaries to the Hospital employees was started after the Pretoria Peace Agreement. Workers were not paid for 17 months before the peace agreement and they have not been paid for overtime services since the beginning of the war, he said.
The Deputy Head of the hospital’s Pharmacy Department, Danawit Gebremeskel, told Wazema that the medicine provided to the hospital is not enough for the beneficiaries and that it runs out after reaching some patients. However, compared to the previous period, there is some improvement now, according to her.
Danawit further said that there is a shortage of medicines in all medical sections. “This happened because the Federal Pharmaceutical Supply Agency has not provided us with the provision to our request,” she said.
Wazema visited the hospital and approached patients who said that they were particularly troubled by the fact that the medicines, which are not available in the hospital, are purchased from private pharmacies at high prices. However, Danawit dismissed the complaint of patients on the illegally transferred drugs to private hospitals.
“Private pharmacies are aware of the need and fill their stores with drugs mostly needed by beneficiaries. That’s why the drugs that are not available in the hospital are available at private pharmacies,” she said. But Danawit said that patients are asked to buy gloves from private pharmacies.
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