Rabat - My recent experience with the tragic death of my father has enlightened me on the subject of the many Moroccan health issues that I had formerly only heard of, but with which I had no personal experience.
Rabat – My recent experience with the tragic death of my father has enlightened me on the subject of the many Moroccan health issues that I had formerly only heard of, but with which I had no personal experience.
These highly problematic issues range from ambulance delays to unsterilized emergency rooms (within even the most urban areas in Morocco), the lack of competent doctors to disorganized medical staff as well as emotionally inept security agents. Overall, the Moroccan health system is unwell and is in need of care just as urgent as my father before he died.
When my father was at death’s door, we had to wait a very painful hour for an ambulance even though my house is a mere fifteen minutes by bike to the hospital. In East England an ambulance held up for fifteen minutes is considered late, but in Rabat waiting an hour is standard, particularly if there is no serious injury. This inefficiency may be to blame in terms of many patients; untimely death.
To make matters worse, once my relatives and I arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital in Rabat, there was another two hour wait for my father’s basic medical examination and the necessary tests specific to his case, a brain scan and CAT scan. Why were my father’s critical three hours wasted while his brain hemorrhage diagnosis could have been announced in just twenty minutes according to specialists? When I asked the reason, a doctor in training, not even a certified doctor, replied “we have to wait for a doctor to show up, an available hospital bed, and an oxygen tank. Please take a seat and if you see an empty hospital bed inform us.”
In addition to my father’s untimely death, a recent video of a pregnant woman delivering on the floor of a Moroccan hospital in Casablanca further unveils the inferiority of health care in Morocco. Despite many attempts from Mr. ELhoussaine Louardi, Minister of Health in Morocco, to reform the health system it still suffers from serious logistical problems. Specifically, emergency rooms appear to be packed, and medical staff stockpile patients in hospital beds in the waiting room near outpatients.
A Moroccan man of 55 years waiting outside the hospital for a sick relative said, “security agents treat us as if we are some kind of sheep that must be gathered outside with no respect or consideration for our feelings.” In fact, security agents in Ibn Sina Hospital push patients’ family members outside of the building instead of allowing them to sit in the waiting rooms. Psychologically speaking, the Moroccan Health Ministry must collaborate with the security companies to train agents to recognize the psychological crisis that patients’ family members endure in hospitals and handle it appropriately.
Although the Moroccan government spends an estimated figure of $5 billion a year on health care, recent studies conducted by World Health Organization ranked Morocco an embarrassing 103rd on healthy life expectancy while Tunisia ranked 59th. According to the New York Times, World Bank data published last year showed that Moroccan public health spending accounted for 6.5 percent of all public spending compared with 6.2 percent in Tunisia. Breaking this down into annual spending per person, in Morocco it is $147, higher in Algeria at $186 and even higher in Tunisia at $246. Critics of health care systems explain that the lack of management skills represent a major obstacle for the improvement of the health care system.
The bottom line is that health care itself is sick in Morocco. We do not have courageous and honest ministers who pledge to heal it or resign their posts because of embarrassingly poor performances during their office. It seems clear that those who are responsible for our safety in the Ministry of Health can be said to have blood on their hands.
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