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Opinions of Friday, 12 December 2014

Columnist: Alhassan, Latif Abdul

Please, Safe Savelugu Hospital

An article by:
Latif Abdul Alhassan,

All and sundry would agree with me that the core mandate of the Ghana Health Service is to deliver quality health care to all people residing in Ghana. It is a constitutionally mandated institution that stands to address the health needs of people in Ghana, regardless of gender, religion or race. It is an institution that pledges to take the health of people in Ghana at heart. That is why you will see an inscription “Your Health-Our concern” on the logo/badge of Ghana Health Service. The health workers are specialist whom we have all put our trust on. They are those the local men see as a solution to their health problems. What then happens if a specialist you trust betrays you?
This is the case of the only hospital in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality (Savelugu Municipal Hospital) in the Northern Region of Ghana where the hospital is in complete shambles.
All started with workers of the hospital. My little knowledge on Industrial Psychology tells me that the most valuable resource in any organization is the human resource, and when it has a problem, all other resources will be affected. But for the case of Savelugu Municipal Hospital, the human resource factor seems to be missing. Vain complains of workers of the hospital is about two basic worker motivators, thus salary and recognition of their effort. Imagine a casual worker in such an institution taking a monthly salary ranging from one hundred and twenty one Ghana cedis to two hundred and thirty six Ghana cedis ( Ghs121-Ghs236) as compared to a range of three hundred and fifty to five hundred Ghana cedis (Ghs350-Ghs500) for their colleagues in other public institutions. Such salaries are sometime paid overdue. No wonder some clients complain that some worker do take undue moneys from them before rendering services to them.
For a dedicated, God fearing and patriotic workers, the salary/motivation would not have been a problem. The last stroke that broke the camel’s back is the fact that there are no logistics at the hospital to aid staff to render services to the public.
As it stands now at the hospital, one cannot tell what Health Insurance covers or what it does not cover. No wonder the commonest object at dispensaries of the hospital is “red pens” which the dispensers simple use to tick the names of prescribed drugs and direct insured clients to buy from private drug stores. You would be shocked by revelation that sometimes, clients are instructed to buy medical gloves to be used on their patients. The common pain killer (paracetamol), every local man has at his farm is sometimes bought by insured clients. In the case of rehydration, clients have to buy all materials involved before the process kick start. What then happens in case of an emergent rehydration?
Some staff of the hospital has lost confidence on the facility, with some outstanding Consultants reported to have said they will seek transfer to other places. The populace of the area has also lost confidence on the health facility, saying that it has no drugs anymore. No wonder nowadays on the later part of the working day, the hospital is like a cemetery. The staff only gets few clients to attend to and, use the rest of the day on chatting or playing computer games.
With the state of the only hospital in the Savelugu/Nantong Municipality, children who are the most vulnerable die like day old fowls. The records of the hospital indicate that on November alone, twenty two (22) death cases were recorded at the hospital and, nineteen (19) cases were children. At the premises of the hospital on the 9th of December 2014, I witnessed three infant sudden deaths by 3:00pm. What do you think is happening? Does Savelugu now turn the motto of Ghana Health Service to “Your Death-Our Concern”? Does the hospital still works with the pledge to provide quality and accessible health care to the people of the area?
As a native and a blood of Savelugu/Nantong Municipality, I call on the government, management of the hospital, opinion leaders of the area, youth and all and sundry to come on board to safe our only hospital. Whatever you can do to in your own way to deliver our hospital, you are entirely welcome.
May God reward your effort
Thank you.