January 22, 2009

Only One Female Doctor for 45,000 Women

Saudi Gazette
By Ali Al-Ghamdi
January 22, 2009

BALJURASHI – There is only one female doctor at the Maternity and Pediatrics Hospital in Baljurashi, a small town where the women population stands at 45,000.
Women here normally wait for long periods to get admission in the hospital or to consult the only general physician here.

Several women here have complained that they have to go to King Fahd Hospital in Baha, about 40 km from the town.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Subhi, head of the obstetrics department at King Fahd Hospital, admitted that a large number of women patients from Baljurashi are referred to the hospital. “Referring cases to us in large numbers has put us in a tough situation when a baby dies or a mother gets here in critical condition,” he said.

The maternity hospital is one of the oldest in Baha region. Several women said the services provided at the hospital are inadequate and at some times outdated. “Wards are too small with at least 10 patients in each one. And there is only one toilet,” said Abdullah Ahmad. He said there is no peace and quiet in the hospital as the incessant noise in the neighboring car auction market disturbs patients in the wards. Moreover, the approach to the hospital is very difficult and unless one has a four-wheel drive vehicle it is difficult to go to the hospital, he said.

The situation at the pathological lab is more pathetic. “Getting results from the lab takes several weeks because the hospital does not have the needed equipment to analyze the samples, so it sends it to Al-Baha,” said Saleh Al-Ghamdi. He said the hospital badly needs a nursery as new-born babies are being referred to Al-Baha. “We have no choice,” he said.Al-Ghamdi said visitors to the hospital even don’t have a place to sit. “They have to squat on the ground in the narrow parking lots.”Visitors have another problem at hand. There is no cafetaria in the hospital and they have to drive about ten kilometers to get even a cup of coffee.

Hospital authorities could not be reached for comments.


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