Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Response to Medical Strikes

So, here in Gabon, the public hospital workers are going into their 2nd month of strikes. This means what you think it means... people that are sick have only the option of private care. However, here this is simply not possible due to cost. Therefore, many are going without care and literally dying.

At the heart of the strikes is the matter of salaries. I really have no idea if the workers have a point and their salaries are too low, however, there are people dying as they discuss money. It just seems that there could be a better way to handle the matter. It is comforting to hear about one or two doctors here and there that cross the picket line to try and tend to people hurting, but it's simply not enough.

Due to the strike, the Bongolo Hospital is at maximum capacity. The word is that they are having to set up extra mattresses to handle the overflow and that they are running critically low on medications.

If they had an airplane...

If they had an airplane, the additional medication could be ordered and brought to them directly. Unfortunately, our aviation program is not operating, so they will have to make their order, our team in Libreville will arrange for delivery and load a truck, and then they truck will make it's journey. This will take at least a week or more to accomplish. With an airplane, we can eliminate much of the process.

What can we do...

In the meantime, I am interviewing pilots of private aircraft to see if they will pitch in- donating their time and their airplane or, at least, allowing us to hire their services during this strike. We are also looking into hiring a charter service that caters to the wealthy business people of Gabon. They have a Cessna Caravan that could make its' way to the hospital, but I'm afraid to hear what they will charge.

Please pray that this strike will end soon and that the people of Gabon will have the health care they need. Pray that the Bongolo Hospital will be able to meet the needs and that the over worked medical professionals there will have stamina for the job.

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