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Opinions of Thursday, 14 June 2018

Columnist: kwame asante

Is life too cheap or we just don't care in Ghana?

The right to life is an inalienable right to every one everywhere across the globe and cannot be taken away by anyone excerpt under conditions as prescribed by law. Even that most human right organizations have been advocating for several years that, the death penalty in the statues of most countries should be expunged. This means that the right to life is enshrined in our laws and the state must do all it can to guarantee it.

The right to live is guaranteed in our country Ghana but to live a healthy, happier and a fulfilling life is not dependant on ones own strength alone but contingent on a number of things that are not always within the reach of individuals but must be provided for by the state. The provision of facilities such playgrounds, hospital and places of entertainment which all help us to live a healthy life is somehow beyond our reach as individuals and where these things are provided for by privates persons, the fees paid to access these facilities are offer times times beyond the reach of ordinary citizens and healthcare delivery is one of them.

The various newspapers are awash with the reportage that a 70 year old man lost his life after visiting six hospitals and died on arrival at the seventh hospital. It is reported in the Daily Graphic of 12th June, 2018 that this old man was was first sent C & J Medicare Hospital at Adabraka, then to Korle Polyclinic, the Ridge Hospital, the Police Hospital, the Trust Hospital, the LA Polyclinic before giving up the ghost at the LEKMA hospital upon arrival. What led to all this was lack of bed to admit this 70 year old man and he had to die a miserable death.

The kinds of experience that great people at the various health facilities whether private or public needs much to be desired and this goes a long way to impugn our so called called hospitable tag. Either some of our health professionals don't know what they are about or they just don't care a hoot about what happens to the sick when they visit their facilities.

My pregnant wife was attending antenatal at Sanford clinic at Tantri in Cape Coast. Along the way she was diagnosed as having what is commonly called Gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). According to Wikipedia it is the development of new hypertension in a pregnant woman after 20 weeks' gestation without the presence of protein in the urine or other signs of pre-eclampsia.

In my wife's case she had protein in her urine and her blood pressure was so high that she had to be referred to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH).

The major challenge was how to get the referral letter from Sanford Clinic to CCTH and that took my wife more than six weeks to get the letter. The day she reported at the CCTH with her referral letter, her pressure was so high she had to be detained and admitted subsequently.

The challenge of non availability of beds which lead to the death of the 70 year old man happened to my wife. She reported to the facility at about 8am and due to the non availability of beds at the Obstetrics and Gynecological Ward she had to be loitering about until around 7 pm when someone was discharged before she a had bed to sleep on the CCTH. Between 8am to 7pm is over eleven hours and anything could have happened to her. Assuming she had died like this old man, who would have been held responsible? There are no beds and the hospital management cannot improvise bed. Is it a case that we don't forecast as a nation in order prepare adequately to meet the growing demands of our population? Some of these hospital facilities are overstretched and others can be easily blamed on poor hospital management due to lack of maintenance.

This is the sorry state of our health facilities across the country. Either out preventive health delivery is deficient or the health facilities are just too inadequate to cater for the sick in our motherland. A country like Ghana, after 60 years of independence doesn't have Psychiatric doctors in 7 regions. The only three regions where we've these doctors are in the Central, Greater Accra and Ashanti regions of Ghana. That should tell every reader the state of our healthcare system.

To continue with my wife issue, she was admitted eventually and the necessary medical application was started. One telling experience that I need answers to is that, how come if someone is on admission and the doctor prescribes medication for the patient, why is it that, the nurses have to wait for the patient's relative to come and be given the prescription to go and buy from the hospital pharmacy? Is that the best practise in medicare across the world or what? It begs a very big question assuming someone travels and gets hospitalised in an environment where she/he knows no one, does it mean no one would buy the medicines for the patient because there is no one to run the errands? This is the sad situation that ones faces in a Ghanaian hospital.

There were complications on Friday and she had to be rushed to the theater for an operation to be performed on her. As to the ill treatment and sheer neglect by some hospital staff when my wife was on admission would be discussed in another article. But these few people need some commendation: Dr. Pinkrah, Dr. Boakye, Dr. P. A. Adico, Mrs Sophia Blankson, the DNS of CCTH, Mrs Irene Jacobs, Mavis Zinenobs, Adwoa Taylor of the Neonatal and Intesive Care unitetc.

This write up has been put together to draw attention to the fact that, the case of the 70 year old man who lost his life is not an exclusive event and with my personal experience just this May of this year, might be a reflection of our health status in most of the populous regions of Ghana.

The earlier we do something about it the better for us. Ghana deserves Better