Cultural Beliefs Hinder Medical Treatment

The concept of late presentation of patients to hospital is a never-ending phenomenon at Hatfield Archer Memorial hospital and in fact, it gets worsen each year. The socioeconomic, cultural believes and the high rate of illiteracy are factors always eating deep into the minds of people in their communities.

Each time we received a critical patient (most of which are children), we put up our utmost best to make sure that patient survives. This is not only because we want to fulfill our responsibility of saving lives, but to also prove to these communities that all of these illnesses they have believed to be caused by demons or evil spirits can be diagnosed and completely treated in a hospital. To also try and let the communities understand that early presentation to the hospital saves life with less expenses for medical bills while late presentation poses high medical expenditure and high chances of death from the illness.

Most of the period (hours) of the hospital outreach visits or campaigns are spent for disseminating health education messages and counselling on all life threatening but preventable conditions such as Hernias, Sexually Transmitted Infections, malaria, typhoid, HIV/AIDs, Viral Hepatitis etc.

Unfortunately, these communities have held on a totally different concept pertaining their disease conditions, and changing those believes almost seems to be impossible unless with perseverance and commitment.

The free Bumpeh Surgical Camp project was an eye opener for the community people to believe that surgery is not as complex and mind-worrying as they think. Surgical conditions can be treated with no complications when the right diagnoses are made. The belief that surgeries need ceremonies to cleanse it before it is undertaken was debunked and most people were convinced that the hospital is indeed the solution to our medical and surgical problems. 100 hernia surgeries undertaken in 2 weeks was a miracle and a heart gladden activity by the paramount chief to see many people who were disfigured physically and emotionally returned to their routine normal farming activities. The BSC project also defined the hospital ability or surgical staWith the surgical personnel’s and the advent of the universal anesthetist machine (UAM), the hospital operating theatre is now second to none in the entire district/region.

There are still key challenges that require redress such as medical equipment, emergency care facilities (outdated ambulance, no power retained oxygen concentrator, etc).

There are however a convincing number of success stories as more efforts and resources are being employed to change some of these indwelling malignant ideologies.

–Hospital Administrator Mohsen M. Lumen