‘Figures do not lie’ but they could about beds and cots: Part 2

We have looked at the first part on figures could lie about beds and cots in public hospitals. But then if more beds are not an option, what else can we do? This is part of the series: Unique characteristics of sub-Saharan Africa’s health care settings including – turbulence and holidaying while we wait. We also explored lay caretakers. What would be our role in improving the availability of the beds we have – both directly and indirectly?

  1. Through helping people go home if they don’t clinically need to be there,
  2. Through getting developing conditions attended to before they need a bed, and planning around bed usage, so they’re not idle while people need them, and the right kinds of beds are available to match demand.
  3. We should always communicate well our intentions for a patient to avoid being at loggerheads over patient admission levels.
  4. Would it be possible for example to forecast a discharge date, so that all the non-clinical things that need to happen can be planned with that time frame in mind – rather than started after the clinical discharge decision is made?
  5. The role of medical insurance and by extension hospital bill waiving is a topic for another day. However the role of waiving in releasing the number of beds occupied by discharge-ins who continue to be held custody by institutions due to inability to clear their medical bills.


Picture showing a market-like ward with patients and relativeves clamped in a small space

(Courtesy of mediaschool.indiana.edu)

If we are to consider the many patients who were on the floor, corridors of the ward and imagine how a ‘Future now’ health care – digital care would be like contrasted with congested market like ward’. It will be an interesting feature to behold.

More critical though – when can those of us working in a public hospital ever say the ward has a maximum number of patients and can admit no more? It would be interesting if we were to relate health care in resource constrained setting to nursing shortage, the role of lay care providers. Look out for my article on Shallom Hospital.

Next time we will be looking at the role of Holidaying while we wait

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