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Opinions of Saturday, 29 December 2012

Columnist: Nuhu, Kashaa

Pillaging Brigades In Our Health Institutions

Health Institutions are considered the “Omega” panacea of both formal and informal segments of the Ghanaian populace when sick. However, the latter, many a time plummet for superstition and rather put their trust in seeking spiritual purification of an ailment they battled over time instead of proper medical attention. Be it as it may, the health institutions in Ghana had the professionals to addressing issues related to all sort of sickness.

To whet the appetite of readers, it is terribly relevant to expose the unenthusiastic activities going on in our various physical condition establishments. Be it the Korle bu , Okomfo Anokye, Effia Nkwanta , Tamale, Sunyani Regional to mention but a few hospitals, the act is equally good to these marauders in these institutions as it is in either a health center or a health post in a typical rural dwelling like Duampompo in the Adansi district of Ashanti region or Poyintanga in the Wa west district in the Upper-west region. These personals loot and stockpile prosperity out of government provided stuff to these institutions without an iota of lamentation.

A visit to a hospital in the Brong -Ahafo region was an eyesore of the act of larceny by medical officers claimed to be heads of departments. These officers (males and females) pilfer from carton of drugs to apparatus used in the performance of their duties. This obviously is done in connivance and full glare of supporting officers like nurses and other paramedics who all have a hand in the act of thievery. They carry all the stuff according to the information available at the time to their private clinics and hospitals where they make referral of patients to attend.

Another hospital in the Ashanti region which is a Christian health institution is equally guilty of the same offense from their medical superintendent, nurses and midwives. This time around, a Medical Superintendent has to trade embezzled drugs, wheel chairs and catheters from the hospital to the same hospital for cash. This Medical Superintendent abused the office so much so that, the colleague Medical doctors have to abscond to give way for him to carry on with his robbery. When they serve as a tentative slab to his nefarious activity, he leveled unsubstantiated allegations on them to cause their transfer.

As if not satisfied, the laborers or manual workers of the hospital who are on government pay roll are serving this Medical Superintendent as if their monthly wage comes from his pocket. A supposed hostel for the hospital staff and alleged hospital all owned by this monstrous medical doctor is built by the proceeds of the hospital he heads. To add salt to injury, the entire menial work apart from the skilled work on both projects is executed by the staff outside the running and rendering of professional services to the hospital.

Midwives and other nurses in our hospitals are not all left out of this business of prowling. Nurse and Midwives trade with petty but imperative possessions needed for delivery at the maternity wards to their susceptible pregnant victims at exorbitant prices. Some of these stuffs are stocks from the hospital which are sold into private pockets without a dime going into the hospital’s coffers. Possible mothers to become complain bitterly about the prices of these goods sold to them by the nurses and midwives but their plea was not heed to. The pregnant women have no option than to buy it at the soar value for the urgent need of it. Some of the nurses and midwives according to the mothers force some of the things on them which they might not necessarily need during delivery making labour at the hospital very lackluster. How long can we sit and watch some of these wrongs to thrive in our health institutions?

Again, another pertinent worry worth noting is the rate at which the Pharmacy that operates at night in our health institutions is run. These men and women at the drug center sell drugs to patients who are on prescription by Medical doctors without health insurance card or drugs that are not captured by the insurance when the accounts department of the said health institution is closed. Taking the advantage of the polarize situation, the people manning the pharmacy keep much of the income and account less or not at all the next morning to the accountant all against the hospital. It is not their duty to receive cash therefore do not have receipt to offer to cover the amount received.

These are practical experiences but not captured on video to serve as evidence. The act of thievery and looting in some of these institutions are so sickening to the extent of death. The act is fast thriving in all government health institutions across the length and breadth of Ghana. The spotlight is just on the Police, public officials like politicians, civil servants just a hand full to mention who are perceived to be corrupt in the system. Our health institutions stand tall in the act of sleaze against mother Ghana. They succeed in these activities because Ghanaians identify so much ingenuity as compare to the impish operation of other sectors.

What is more raucous in these health institutions is the lack of urgency or lukewarm attitude towards patients. The feeling and expressing of these professionals interest on their duty is raised to the roof top at the expense of the ailing individual. It is a service you cannot afford to falter or a human life is lost yet these men and women are so much reluctant in the course of duty which sometimes results in the abysmal state of the patient leading to bereavement. The profession is a noble one and not many people understand the technicalities involve in the discharge of services, for this reason, the nurse, midwife, medical doctor or anyone in charge takes advantage of the scanty knowledge to either extort or dwindle your personality with terminologies. Do Ghanaians deserve this treatment from our eulogized professionals?

It is proper for all especially the professionals at our health institutions to know that, there are some people who are tenants at the mortuary, others are landlords and landladies at the cemetery and of course all are candidates of obituary, therefore, we must pay tentative regard to situations that are observed as grave to save souls. We all have a part to play to keep the nation going forward. While the nurse, midwife or medical doctor is attending to a patient, the son or daughter is also under the care of the teacher imparting knowledge into the child to become a responsible citizen. We must all extricate our duties diligently without delightful wringing money illicitly from one another or the state.

The Ghana health Service, the Ministry of health must put punitive measures to check some of these rudimentary pilfering, serious robbery and stomach-turning attitude of these professionals and non medical staff of our health institutions to save it from declining. A wrong done continually becomes a right; any attempt to curb such wrong will mean denying one of his or her right to a long held erroneous trait. Let us all serve as each other’s keeper as responsible citizens as a contributory quota to the betterment of Ghana.

There is the need for parliament to fast track the freedom of information bill which will guarantee the general public the right not only to information but also offer information as and when necessary. The rancorous conduct of people in our health institutions must be exposed. As the ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas always put it “they must be name, shame and jail” for their transgressions. Our country has suffered so much in the hands of these ill motive people who found themselves in places they are not equipped with pre-requisite skills and etiquette or half gained skills to clutch. Ghana’s health system will be on the verge of collapse with the upsurge of corrupt individuals in our health institutions.

Let us remind ourselves that, the entire system is corrupt therefore the country needs complete overhauling in other to march up with the world. It becomes more solemnly atrocious when our health system is sunk in the chorus of the nation against the very activity derailing our development. Ghana will be grateful and gracious to people with clean hearts to serve in the various capacities.

Kashaa Nuhu