The lack of a medical doctor and other essential healthcare providers continue to widen the healthcare gab in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region.
Whereas healthcare givers in the area have no option than to refer cases, which they describe as worrying, pregnant women and children continue to suffer the brunt of commuting several kilometers to Tolon, Damongo and Tamale on daily basis.
The North Gonja District was carved out of the larger West Gonja Municipality in June 2012.
Eleven years down the line, the District is yet to have a hospital even though it has three health centers at Daboya, Lingbinsi and Mankarigu with several other Community Health Planning Service (CHPS) Compounds.
Health centres serve as referral facilities within the health zones but the lack of a medical doctor and other critical healthcare providers in the district is affecting healthcare.
Patients who visit the health facilities are mostly referred to Tamale, Tolon and Damongo.
Akua Dokurgu is one of such patients who was referred to the Tamale hospital to undergo Caesarian Section when she reported labour.
She had to be transported in a canoe across the White Volta.
She laments the situation is frustrating.
“I visited the Lingbinsi Health Centre on Monday and was referred to Daboya but when I got there, they told me only Caesarean Section can get the baby out but because there is no doctor they also referred me to Tamale.
“I couldn't afford to pay GH¢1,200 as fuel top up so I had to risk my life in a canoe through the White Volta and proceeded to Tolon before going to Tamale.“
Healthcare providers say they share in the plight of the patients.
Patience Abaah, a midwife in charge at the Daboya Health Centre told 3news.com that as workers of the health centre they can only provide primary healthcare services, blaming the delay in upgrading the health centres in the district into a polyclinic status on the unnecessary referrals.
“We really need a doctor because we are punishing our clients with the too many referrals. The roads are bad, the ambulance charges exorbitant amount from the clients and is sickening so sometimes we refer and they don't go which end up giving them complications or they even die.”
“We have a Deputy Health Minister as an MP yet our healthcare woes keep deepening.”
But in a telephone interview, the MP while admitting to the suffering of the people as a result of the lack of critical health staff, disagreed with the assertion that he has not been proactive.
He blamed the situation on the delay in upgrading the Daboya Health Center into a polyclinic and assured the people to help address the situation as soon as possible.
By Christopher Amoako|3news.com|Ghana