Health News of Friday, 17 August 2012

Source: GNA

Minister warns health workers on extortion

Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, Minister of Health, has said administrative and punitive measures would be taken against any Para-medical staff of the Ministry caught extorting monies from patients.

Mr. Bagbin said this at the end of the national diabetes awareness day campaign on the theme “Self-Monitoring, The Key for Survival” at Sunyani on Thursday.

The three-day programme started in Atebubu and Amanten districts to the Kintampo North Municipality and finally in Sunyani, where people were screened to know of their diabetic status.

Mr. Bagbin wondered why a normal health staff could be so cruel to the extent of demanding or exhorting monies from a sick person before “qualifying” the patient for official medical care or treatment.

He appealed to members of the National Diabetes Association to support their National Executive Council to attract more members at both regional and district levels to create more awareness about the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, asthma and others in the country.

He acknowledged the efforts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in assisting the nation to control diabetes and other NCDs, saying, that was why such diseases were on high alert on the ministry’s agenda.

Mr. Bagbin said the ministry had directed that all Regional Hospitals should be supplied with HBA1C machines or Glucometers to be able to diagnose diabetes, adding that the ministry had plans to set up a diabetes clinic in every district for speedy management of the disease.

He commended the management of the National Diabetes Association for the awareness creation about the disease in the country and reiterated the ministry’s assurance to the Association that it would continue to support their efforts.

Mr. Bagbin said the ministry alone could not provide all the necessary logistics to control diabetes and therefore appealed to philanthropists, industrialists and financial institutions to support the Association in its efforts.

Mrs. Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, President of the Association, stated that the Association is a national advocacy group for people living with diabetes by supporting and promoting activities that would enhance their lives.

Mrs. Denyoh, a diabetic patient since age eight, expressed concern that in Africa, Ghana was the only country that Diabetes Association “is not fully sponsored by the Government”.

She appealed to the ministry “not to see it just as an association under the ministry, but know that the association is there for the welfare of diabetic patients”.

The National President complained that Ghana did not have an eye specialist to treat the major diabetic complications like retinal detachment and due to that those affected in Ghana had to go to either Kenya or Tanzania for treatment.

“One major area in diabetes which Ghana has not considered totally is the area of fertility in diabetics”, she noted, stressing that infertility in women and impotence in men was a major complication of the disease.

She said the Association had registered with Insulin for Life Foundation and soon diabetic patients under 34 years would enjoy free insulin and appealed to the ministry to help them to have an office to make the insulin programme a reality.

Dr. Timothy Letsa, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Health Services, said 13,699 diabetes cases were reported in the region in 2010 but the figure increased to 17,782 in 2011.

Cases of hypertension in the region also rose from 54,669 in 2010 to 75,024 in 2011, he said.

Dr. Letsa said efforts would be made to extend the screening programme to the remaining municipalities and districts in the region.