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Health News of Sunday, 10 May 2015

Source: Public Agenda

Management of Korle-Bu must be up and doing

Ghana's Health Delivery system is fraught with crises. The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is indebted to service providers in whopping sums of money, a situation that has compelled some service providers to hesitatingly withdraw their services. For instance, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) owes health facilities under the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) to the tune of GHC 80 million.

The situation has become so dire that it has pushed the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) into state of near collapse, a claim which has been rebutted for the umpteenth time by the NHIA.

At the heels of the NHIS challenges, comes the end of service of House Officers of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and whose departure have created a gaping hole with the Out-Patient Department (OPD) of the Hospital inundated with patients. According to TV3 news report on Wednesday, some patients wait for about seven hours before they were attended to.

Meanwhile, Management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, in a news item carried by on Wednesday disclosed that, new House Officers that would take over from their departing colleagues would begin work in two weeks time! That is a rather long period of time relative to healthcare: two weeks?

In a related development, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) as per a TV3 news item, has revealed that the Association warned the Management of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital of the imminent vacuum to be created by the end of tenure of house officers, if steps were not taken to avert the situation. The warning, the report said, was sounded two months ago in a communiqué issued by the GMA. But the report said the powers- that- be, in their usual characteristic style, ignored the warning.

It is said that “to be forewarned is to be forearmed,” but in the case of Korle-Bu, we could say that, by their posture in the face the looming shortage of personnel, they became disarmed after the warning. The Management of the Hospital says that, as a stop-gap measure, they will deploy some of the resident doctors and consultants to the OPD to deal with the mounting numbers. One could imagine the stress that would be brought upon these doctors.

The obvious question is: did the Management of Korle-Bu not see this coming and what became of planning to deal with such contingency? We of Public Agenda call on the Management of Korle-Bu to be proactive and to avert such avoidable situations in the future. Life is precious; hence issues related to healthcare delivery should not be treated with flippancy. Planning is the name of the game, and Management of Korle-Bu must be seen to be doing that.