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Christmas at the hospital: A gift of unpleasant experience

While others might have celebrated their Christmas with much-spirited mind and excitement, mine never turned to be so. By life’s circumstances and uncontrollable situations, I rather found myself at one of Ghana’s populated hospitals in Accra for my Christmas and New Year. Conceivably, you might have thought I went there for a humanitarian cause, perhaps, to show some love for the afflicted or was admitted there myself. Sorry, but that wasn’t the case. It was my close relative that had to be admitted on Christmas day because he was ill and fell unconscious on the day.

If you had ever been to Ghana’s public or general hospitals with a medical emergency situation at hand, trust me, it comes with lots of frustrations, anxiety and nerve shivering moments. To start with, it was a holiday and majority of the doctors and nurses as usual weren’t present as we arrived. Those who were present too were casually working and had a kind of a ‘field day’ attitude. I quickly rushed to the entrance of the surgical emergency unit, and at the inner parameter, I met a medical assistant and told him we had someone in the car who was unconscious and couldn’t walk, he responded: “go and bring him” I replied, “we can’t bring him because he’s unconscious and can’t walk, perhaps we may need a stretcher and your assistance” with a tiring look on his face he pointed to a wheel-chair and insisted we used that to convey the valetudinarian.

Personally, I wasn’t that surprised about that, because, looking around you could see that our situation wasn’t a unique one, with observation, some emergency cases were turned down and compelled to leave to different hospitals. The lackadaisical attitude of the practitioners was glaring enough to push you away. I had witnessed the same unfortunate situation at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital a year ago, where a close relative died on a wheel chair hours after we took her there for medical treatment. We were told the hospital had no bed for her to lie on to be treated. I vividly, recall how she struggled in the chair until she finally gave up at the sight of nurses and a doctor who didn’t seem to care about her condition in the wheel chair. For them, seeing a patient painfully die was business as usual, nothing seems to be wrong with that. Nothing was compelling enough to touch the pulses of humanity.

“Mercy me!”, I was fortunate to have had two of my cousins to help me carry this fragile mortal onto the wheel-chair, as we dashed him to the emergency room. The real ordeal had just begun. I was instructed to go to the administrative unit to either trace the relative’s medical records, what they usually call “the folder”. It was shocking that my relative virtually in spite of his emergency, had to unconsciously sit in the wheel chair until his records were traced. Hours passed and we were yet to be taken care of, it was after 3 hours of waiting till we were given a more deserving attention by another medical assistant after series of appeals. Over the years, a lot of people have complained about the bad treatments some nurses and doctors met out to people who genuinely seek their help for survival.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 2030 agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 3, which focuses on good health and well being of the people, will elude Ghana if our health system remains the same without proper and adequate investments and infrastructure. It is the right of the Ghanaian to have access to quality healthcare and a solemn responsibility of the government to ensure that its people live in an environment secured by a proper and efficient health facilities. The Ghanaian have the right to expect a longer life expectancy rate much more than what we have in today’s Ghana.

The laws of Ghana classify the health sector as critical and essential to the socioeconomic development of the country. However, government over the years has failed to ensure that the needed infrastructures and health logistics are adequately sought to cater for its citizens. Though the ultimate goal of achieving quality healthcare delivery lies on the shoulders of the government, there must also be the commitment from the private sector in ensuring that the kind of partnership and investments made in the health sector yield the necessary results as expected. Our private health delivery system must be made affordable and accessible to allow the ordinary Ghanaian benefit from a good and affordable quality health care.

Health practitioners must live up to expectation

Felix Marti Ibanez in his book titled: “to be a good doctor” concluded that a doctor must mean much more than to dispense pills or to patch up or repair torn flesh and shattered minds. He avers further that “to be a doctor is to be an intermediary between man and God”. Being a perfect health practitioner must mean being incredibly compulsive with a core role of helping patients to have a reason to live and not to dash their hopes to live.

Our health practitioners must live beyond reproach and materialism. It seems most doctors and nurses are rather focused on how to make money instead of saving precious lives. This situation is complicated when most doctors and nurses who are employed by the government set up their own private hospitals on the blind side of the government by denying citizens who go to the public hospitals their services.

I believe if Ghana can make any meaningful progress in our health sector, our policymakers must prioritize the sector to allow for a proper monitoring and evaluation systems that will effectively check the lapses that exist within the health system.

The government must equally ensure that most public health facilities across the country are adequately resourced with the required medical logistics and infrastructure as required. More and well-resourced facilities are equally needed in the rural communities in Ghana as they are the most vulnerable.

The 2030 agenda of the SDGs, especially SDG3 can only be attained if the government focuses more attention on healthcare delivery in the country, providing committed and competent professionals dedicated to their duties of saving lives, devoid of corrupt systems and poor managements, as most Ghanaian feels insecure in the existing health facilities across the country.

By Samuel Creppy| The writer is a Public Relations practitioner

Editors Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the writer and do not represent that of 3news.com whatsoever


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