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Opinions of Thursday, 18 February 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Dr. Hadi Mohammed Abdallah asks: Is NDC a serious government?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Feb. 14, 2016

“I laughed so hard that I cried.” I don’t quite remember which of the French Existentialist thinkers or writers uttered the foregoing quote. I believe it was Monsieur Jean-Paul Sartre. The quote was in connection with the writer’s capture during World War II and his harrowing experiences as a prison of war and his near-death encounter.

The quote could also have been connected with the legendary Senegalese poet, scholar and president and Negritude spearhead, Dr. Leopold Sédar Senghor, who also found himself a captive in a World War II internees’ camp and after doing hard labor for quite some time, his European prison guard one day discovered to his pleasant surprise that this jet-black stereotypical Negroid diminutive African could read, speak and write Greek.

After the preceding discovery, Monsieur Senghor’s prisoner-of-war’s burden would be remarkably reduced and he would be consigned to clerical duties. At any rate, the identity of whoever originated the quote at the beginning of this column matters far less than the fact that the quote strikingly reflects the chilly sensation that surged up my spine when I came across the news article captioned “If We Jet Money to Brazil, Let’s Jet Tools to Korle-Bu to Save Lives – Doctor” / 2/8/16).

In the foregoing article, Dr. Hadi Mohammed Abdallah, a specialist physician at Ghana’s flagship health center, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), bitterly laments that for more than two years now, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the country’s oldest and foremost hospital has been totally kaput, out of function, because it has been under renovation. By the way, this is the very hospital in whose Fevers Unit yours truly spent a considerable and critical period of his childhood. He would later return to the same hospital as a young adult to be treated by the legendary Dr. Mustapha, the Russian-trained neurosurgeon, who for some two decades was widely known to be the only medical specialist of his kind in the entire West African sub-region. Or perhaps Dr. Mustapha was one of only two neurosurgeons in the entire West African sub-region.

Anyway, what the closure of Korle-Bu’s ICU means is that civilian and non-politician patients in dire need of specialized intensive care in the country who do not have access to the 37th Military Hospital, or lack the means of being flown abroad for treatment, may be dying in unacceptably great numbers. Which, in effect, means that they are dying like flies. But that no alternative arrangement appears to have been made by hospital authorities prior to closing down Korle-Bu’s ICU, is all the more flabbergasting. It is also what bitterly annoys Dr. Hadi Mohammed Abdallah than anything else.

In Ghana, the patient’s right and ability to successfully sue a public hospital and/or a doctor is almost nonexistent. Which is why hospital administrators, who generally live high on the proverbial hog, can behave with such criminally reckless abandon and get away with it. The afore-referenced news article also cites a case or two in which gross administrative dereliction has led to the needless deaths of patients. Meanwhile, the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been busy bragging about the establishment of several universities of allied health and medical sciences around the country.

For Dr. Hadi Mohammed Abdallah, it well appears that there is something abjectly lacking in the conscience of the leadership of a government that would jet $ 3 million in crispy notes on a presidential jet to Brazil, in order to pay the players of Ghana’s senior national soccer team, the Black Stars, who had threatened not to play in the June 2014 World Cup until the Flagstaff House authorities made good on their promises, but find it absolutely needless to jet in basic surgical and other medical equipment necessary for saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of indisposed Ghanaian citizens. Well, we couldn’t agree more with Dr. Hadi Mohammed Abdallah.

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