Chedepo, River Gee County – Nurse Geraldine M. Davis has to go through the painstaking task of caring for over 30 patients on a daily basis at the only health facility located in a catchment community of over 10 towns.
Located in northwestern River Gee County, the clinic is in Chedepo, one of the 10 administrative districts in the southeastern Liberian county. The town has a population of over 16,000 people excluding residents of other catchment towns.
But the only clinic in the area does not only cater to its residents, hundreds more from other towns nearby also rely on the health facility for care. To make matter worse, the clinic has also been without essential drugs for the last couple of months and the only professional health worker assigned at this government-run health facility has to endure many sleepless nights.
“I received over 30 patients daily and because I am alone, I don’t sleep, I worked overtime even if am tired I have to force myself to do it,” explains Nurse Davis. “The clinic does not have a dispenser, no register and certified midwives, and we also don’t have a physician assistant”.
Davis says although the District Health Officer sometimes showed up for supervision and gave her “helping hand when the patient load is heavy”, the situation is becoming dire.
She continued: “Additional staff has mostly been my recommendation to the county health team but to no avail. I don’t rest and I need a rest, for this reason my family hardly see me and don’t even make a move anywhere even on Saturdays and Sundays I come to work if there is an emergency, so let the Ministry of Health add me up [assign other nurses] with professional staff like me”.
According to the World Health Organization Global Workforce Statistics, Liberia’s the health worker to patients ratio is estimated at 1,000 patients to a nurse.
Meanwhile, OIC Davis has also stressed that the clinic lacks essential drugs to treat patients and has called on the Ministry of Health to intervene.