Doctors at Malakal hospital decry poor working conditions

Doctors at the Malakal Teaching Hospital in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State have complained of poor working conditions since 2013.
Dr. Ayuel Isaac Abiel, the hospital’s medical director, told Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday that the main referral facility in the region has not been equipped with medical professionals and apparatus over the past seven years.
“The structures at the Malakal Teaching Hospital have been affected by the 2013 civil war and the government treats it as a primary health centre and it cannot support more staff. So, now we have only three medical doctors, four nurses who are supporting, one laboratory technician, and one pharmacist. Even if you bring more staff and there are no salaries and incentives, they cannot work,” Dr. Ayuel lamented.
“So we are trying hard to work with our governor and the state health ministry to change the status from a primary health centre to Malakal Teaching Hospital because the Teaching hospital has a history and is a regional hospital for greater Upper Nile. Patients can come from Panjak, Jonglei and even be referred from Bentiu and Palouch,” he added.
According to Dr. Ayuel, after the crisis commenced in December 2013, people, including medical staff, ran away because there was no security in Malakal.
“There are a lot of challenges. We receive a lot of patients. In one day we can receive over one hundred patients in the outpatient department. We also have patients admitted. So, it means the three doctors are not able to attend to all the patients. We need more doctors,” Dr. Ayuel said. “We also have a problem with drug supplies because the drugs come from Juba. We have support from the national ministry of health and NGOs and also from UNMISS. They supply us with only oral antibiotics but we also need injectable ones.”
Ajak Wer Lual, the secretary-general of Upper Nile State, decried the poor condition at the Malakal hospital and urged the national government to intervene. He pointed out that they are unable to support the hospital because they are overstressed.
“It is true that there are not enough doctors in Malakal hospital this time. Even supplies are not enough. The supplies like medicines and other things at Malakal Teaching Hospital is the responsibility of the ministry of health in Juba,” Ajak Wer said.
“There were two Sudanese doctors who were contracted by the government of the state but before I came in their contract had been terminated by the former secretary-general,” The secretary-general added. “I last visited the hospital on December 24 last year and the condition was not good.”

Source: Radio Tamazuj