Impressed by Lethem Hospital
I recently had cause to visit the Lethem Public Hospital and was impressed by its modern appearance and facilities. Even more pleasing was the fact that most of the technicians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, etc, were all local residents. There were also a number of nurses who were local residents. Walking into this hospital is reminiscent of walking into the private hospitals on the coast where everything is so organized and professional.
As you enter the building you first meet the reception area. After this area is the doctor’s office followed by the pharmacy, labs and then the wards. This layout is ideal and makes the hospital look very professional and businesslike. The appearance alone lends an air of competence to this facility and credit must be given to whoever designed it.
Just a few years ago a visit to the Lethem Hospital was like visiting a haphazard entity. It took much effort to simply locate someone who could offer assistance or directions. It then became even more difficult to actually get the requisite medical assistance. It was a dreaded exercise to visit the hospital in those days. Now, as soon as you enter the hospital you know where to go to seek information and the process is simple to follow to get to wherever you want to be in the hospital.
As you sit in one of the many waiting areas within the hospital you are able to witness the various staff bustling around doing their work. The administrative staff can be identified by their standard uniform while the technical staff have their white garb. Local pride surfaces when many of the technicians can be easily identified as local residents.
Not very long ago many of the present services provided at the hospital were not even available. The few services that were provided had coastal technicians administering them. To have so many facilities now available and to see so many local technicians working in positions previously reserved for coastland staff is clear evidence that something is being done correctly by the relevant authorities to expand and improve our health services.
I happened to have to use the X-ray facility and the technician, a local female, was very courteous and efficient. I marvelled at how far Lethem has come in that I was able to be provided with a service on par with the coast and administered by a local technician. No more do I have to take the arduous trips to the city to do my basic medical checkups.
This is not to say that the hospital is without its faults or shortcomings. There have been many recent articles about problems encountered at the Lethem Hospital. What is encouraging is that there are clear signs that much is being done to improve the service. During my short visit to the hospital I was able to identify a few minor shortcomings which, with a little adjustment by the staff, could go a long way towards further improving the service provided. Firstly, official working hours need to be strictly adhered to. Staff could be seen sitting and chatting in the compound during working hours while the public waited to be attended to. There is also need for an assistant to be posted in the doctor’s waiting area to have an orderly procession of patients who wish to visit him.
As it is at present, the receptionist sends you into the doctor’s waiting room but there is no one to tell you when it is your turn. The weak, sick and elderly can be easily outmanoeuvred by this system. Finally, there should be someone in the main waiting area at the front of the hospital to offer guidance to persons entering the facility. Sometimes there is a long line to get to the receptionist when a simple directive could enable you to complete your transaction without the need to see the receptionist.
All in all my visit to the Lethem Hospital was a most heartening experience. Our public health service has definitely come a very long way in a comparatively short period of time. Kudos needs to be given to whoever has instituted these changes and they are encouraged to continue striving to upgrade the facility and the service provided.