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Opinions of Sunday, 9 February 2014

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Ali Abdul

Can Ghana be poorer than the Ghanaian?

The Ghanaian can be poor just as Ghana can be poor, but can the Ghana be poorer than the Ghanaian? If your answer is “yes, Ghana can be poorer than the Ghanaian”, then my next question is “must Ghana be poorer than the Ghanaian?” Opinion on this may differ as we have different inclinations towards the concept of government and expressions daily heard on our national media, confirms this. Statements like “Government cannot be everywhere at the same time” or “government has no business in doing business”, say it all.
Well, we all call her Mother Ghana and, rightly so. The expression “Mother Ghana” by which every Ghanaian employs in his/her reference to our beloved nation means, she is the mother figure to every Ghanaian. This means, every Ghanaian is a child to Mother Ghana as every one of us looks up to our benevolent motherland, for everything good in life. Every one of us looks up to mother Ghana for his/her survival and truly, Ghana is the official guarantor of our right to life.
In this relationship of mother and the child, who should be the stronger, if the child is to look up to his/her mother for support? Must this be the supporting mother or the dependent child? If the concept of strength refers to the ability of an entity, to overcome almost everything that threatens the survival of a beloved being, who must have more of such strength? Must this be Ghana or the Ghanaian?
The state of Ghana is expected to be better equip in dealing with such threats to life like; war, death, famine, poverty, ignorance, diseases, hunger, flood, than any Ghanaian is capable of doing on his/her own. Ghana indeed has ministry for every one of these challenges. Each of these entities is given clear mandate and resources; to step in and deal effectively with these threats, when face by any Ghanaian. Every one of these institutions is an establishment of the law of the state, task to ensure the Ghanaian is immune from any form of threat, physical or psychological. Mother Ghana is expected to be there for any one of us, even when the citizen has given up on themselves, to a life threatening challenge that makes death imminent. The strength of Ghana in issues relating to medical care, assumes the number one place in this.

The extent of citizen’s dependency on his/her nation, as the last resort to the effort of survival, means the nation must be stronger, more able and richer than anyone of us. This again means, where we fail, our nation must not fail to stand up to the challenge that is beyond the capabilities of the Ghanaian.
The above fact is not the reality in our today Ghana, leaving most with the nostalgia of past medical care experience. We once upon a time, did enjoy free and quality medical care in Ghana for every Ghanaian. Our instinct to run to mother Ghana, as our last resort to holding on to life, is human.
In our effort to survive against serious illness, we resort to our national hospital to assist us in fighting against the ailment threatening to rob us of our life or make such life less worthy of living. The average Ghanaian who drags him/her self to the hospitals, is now getting use to being told by our medical doctors to go back home, because the hospital is not capable of relieving the individual of the ailment.
In other words, the Ghanaian is told that he/she is more capable of fighting the deadly ailment on his/her own, than relying on the collective effort of all Ghanaians. Our medical personnel specialize in telling us that one is better off overcoming the life threatening monster, than should be expected from Ghana. We are told to go and fight the sickness privately because the state of Ghana is less capable of fighting for us. In short, we are told our nation is medically given up on us, as she is actually weaker than the citizen.
Most modern medical challenges are not beyond the capabilities of most nations. The nations that overcome these agents of untimely death make them available and affordable to their citizens. The war against these agents of death is fought with all sense of seriousness like any other threat to life, by these nations.
Medical care as services and the technologies associated with them are then traded as commodities, at very expensive prices, to those whose nation failed to win the war of overcoming the medical threat. Our nation’s medical personnel, who are the nation’s soldiers dedicated to being in the fore front of our fight against medical related threats, are now specializing in telling us to go home and die.
Since every human being’s life is the most precious thing to him/her, the rich of Ghana resort to travelling thousands of miles to get cure elsewhere, while the poor return to their homes to die. Most die in unimaginable conditions, far away in our remote communities, after their nation has failed them.
This is exactly what thousands of sick Ghanaians and their families go through every day. I woke up this morning with such sad news. My uncle has died after the doctors told him to go home because his kidney is too bad for any medical assistance from the hospital, to be of any help. The poor man returns home to endure for over a month, being nurse by his loved ones, until his last minute in the early hours of this Thursday, 2014.
Mother Ghana is poorer and weaker to the extent that Ghanaians are better off in their homes and villages, than in our hospitals receiving care. An average Ghanaian is rather nursed by his/her family members than by our professional nurses and doctors, Ghana employ to care for citizens. Most Ghanaians head towards the villages than wasting their time visiting hospitals, for doctors to declare them medically condemn.
We all blame our citizens for resorting to crude traditional witch doctors, opportunist “Marabous” and self styled “men of God” who exploit their vulnerable state of desperation. These questionable places are now gold mine to all sorts of opportunists. Our citizens are at the mercy of those who feed them with all sorts of concoctions and fake medicines, just to extort whatever the poor families could afford to part with.
In building a stronger, more capable and dependable Ghana, our forefathers created the kind of Ghana free to collect tax from every one of us. Our laws allowed the state to earn revenue from every resource located on any part of Ghana, in addition to the tax, so that no one could employ the lack of money as an excuse, in the battle to save the life of the Ghanaian. Yes, we pay our tax to the state and every non human resources of our land, is at the disposal of our state. We pay to the state to expect the state to be therefore us in our time of need.
Now that the state is clearly never there in our time of dare need, is the dream of Ghana to Ghanaians being met or it is just an illusion? Millions of Ghanaians share in this same unfortunate fate. Certain things are clearly wrong with the right of the citizens of Ghana. The right to life is a Constitutional Right of the Ghanaian and if up to date medical care is not part of this right, what then is this right of the Ghanaian all about? Is this right a necessity? Must this right continue to remain a mere imagination of the average Ghanaian or a reality that all those who believe in it? Do we make anyone or thing, denying us this right give them to us or sit down, waiting for our right that will never be given to us?
The ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocate (ECRA) has no doubt that the dream of the best medical care to the Ghanaian is not beyond the means of the state of Ghana. We pay our tax for medical care and now that we are even being asked to pay more, as National Health Insurance Services (NHIS), we should be expecting to get more. We have no choice but to get far better than we are doing now. Healthcare is our right, not a privilege. But whether quality, available and affordable health care remains a privilege or a right to every Ghanaian, the decision is definitely ours.
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
ECRA (ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocate)
(+233)0261414221, (+44)07984445344,