Cats are eating human afterbirth in some hallwaysWhy do well-run hospitals break down? [Archives:2004/713/Health]

February 19 2004
Patients in Aden hospitals suffer from lack of proper health care
Patients in Aden hospitals suffer from lack of proper health care
Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf
Aden citizens are complaining that health service conditions and standards in the governorate of Aden have dropped dramatically during the last few years. The significant decline in this sector has resulted in dismay and anger among Aden who once had one of the best medical services available in the country.
This comes despite the fact that several new private medical enterprises have been established, but which are not audited or monitored by the state.
This can be attributed to the fact that even state-run medical facilities are of very low standards, and suffer from many problems including inefficient management, lack of resources, corruption, low hygienic standards and more.
In fact, private medical enterprises are most of the time much better than governmental ones in some parts of the governorate.
Citizens of the governorate recall that despite the state's limited resources pre-unification, the country did have decent medical services and employees used to be more dedicated and honest in providing healthcare to citizens in need.
In an effort to focus more on the conditions of the different hospitals of Aden, Yemen Times looked into the care of various hospitals and came up with this information:

Republican Educational Hospital (Jumhuri)
This hospital is among the oldest educational and medical hospitals in Aden. It was established by the British colony to provide healthcare to all citizens residing in Aden in the late 1940s.
Following evacuation of the last British soldiers in November 1967, the hospital's name was changed from its old name Queen's Hospital, to the Educational Republican Hospital.
The hospital played a major role in curing and treating hundreds of thousands of patients who suffered from various diseases and who came from different parts of the country. The hospital also served as an educational institute providing knowledge to medical students.
But today, the hospital's conditions are upsetting as most of the promises to modernize the hospital and provide it with the necessary equipment to run its medical services appropriate are still not fulfilled.
The hospital is in deep need of ambulance cars, and an extra electricity generator to work when public electricity is cut off, which happens too often. Special precautionary measures need to be made to care better for corpses kept in the fridge of the hospital's morgue.
The hospital also lacks qualified medical staffers both doctors and nurses, which negatively affects the hospital's reputation.
The hospital's building is also in need for renovation as some of its walls and ceilings have decayed and need repair.

Al-Wahda Educational Hospital
This hospital was built with the help of the former Soviet Union in the 1970s. It used to have two major departments, gynecology and obstetrics. It is a huge building that suffers from chronic problems, particularly in the building's infrastructure, as it leaks of its sewage and sanitation pipes. Some of the ceilings are severely damaged and require urgent repair to prevent a possible catastrophe. There are even small pits filled with sewage water in the hospital's building.
Some of the floors of the hospital are so neglected that insects, rats, and even cats live in them, causing severely poor hygienic conditions.
Cats are often seen wandering in the halls of the hospital and feeding on the remains of women's afterbirth. This disgusting situation is happening in a hospital once known to be a model hospital that provided high-quality medical services to Yemeni citizens in Aden and nearby provinces.
Furthermore, patients continue complaining of the poor medical quality offered in the hospital and sometimes rough and uncivilized behavior of some of its staffers.
Despite of the hospital's management's efforts in paying for the expenses of running the hospital from its internal revenues, and despite the massive efforts exerted by the sincere staffers to have it continue to provide its services, the hospital's future is still in doubt, especially as the building's infrastructure is deteriorating year after year and needs massive renovations.
The management is still hopeful in that the Ministry of Public Health and Population will take necessary measures to save the hospital.

Aden's General Hospital
The hospital is relatively new and was funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was opened in early 1990 and provided services for some time in an excellent manner. However, in time, the situation of the hospital also deteriorated, especially as it suffered from lack of maintenance and supervision.
Being a modern hospital with new equipment and staff, the hospital was once seen as the hope of all Aden's citizens in becoming an example to other hospitals, but it turned to be similar to the rest, pinpointing to a possible defect in the public health system, which seems to turn successful hospitals to incompetent ones.
The main reason behind the failure of the hospital to reach high standards is basically, according to the hospital's staffers, low wages, lack of modern equipment, and mainly financial burdens. These are basically the same reasons behind the failures of all other governmental hospitals throughout the country.

Can the government prevent their collapse?
It remains to be seen how the government would act to save these hospitals from collapse. The ministry of public health and population needs to rethink its ways of monitoring the hospitals and distributing its budgets and financial resources, which many believe are huge. The ministry will have to enforce regulations and laws that would prevent mismanagement and waste of public funds.
Yemeni citizens have basically lost confidence in the government's so called 'new medical projects' because almost every project starts with glory and huge investments, but ends in misery.
In brief, a new vision and commitment need to be followed by solid and permanent steps to save Aden's medical sector from destined collapse.