ACCESSING HEALTH CARE AND THE ‘MISFORTUNE’ OF BEING A GHANAIAN

IN an article written with the above headline in November last year, and posted on Adomonline, a Ghanaian Doctoral student, Emmanuel Sarfo, opined among others that, “If you are not lucky and you are born a Ghanaian, you die a preventable and miserable death because you are poor, and cannot access health care.”

What he meant was that, if you are poor and “nobody” in the Ghanaian society, you are likely to die of preventable diseases, than when you are wealthy and powerful, because you can access health care effortlessly.

Reading the article for the first time, one is tempted to dismiss it as one of the usual foreign mentality gibberish, that does not see anything good about the strides the nation continues to make in spite of the economic and social challenges that continue to confront the country.

A recent development, has made the Times to believe that Emmanuel’s observation has some merit. He hit the nail right on the head, as his opinion supports our front page story today on Simon Agboe.

Accessing health care today, has become a nightmare and a death trap that millions of Ghanaians might have fallen into. Many people die because they could not afford, or were denied health care by the nation’s health facilities.

Otherwise, how can the nation’s premier Teaching Hospital, Korle-Bu, turn away a patient for three consecutive times just because there are no beds? Is it not inhumane?

As our front page vividly illustrates, Simon Agboe was referred to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital three times in a serious health condition that can only be handled by that hospital, but he was turned away as many times as he visited.

According to Simon, within the past three months, he has had to move from one health facility to another, hoping to access medical care but without success.

Meanwhile, his health keeps deteriorating and if care is not taken, the inevitable might happen.

It is not our intention to predict doom, but we feel disappointed that the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, referred to as the ‘Centre of Excellence’ should treat Ghanaian citizens this way.

It is amazing that Korle-Bu which is the third largest hospital in Africa, and the leading referral centre in Ghana, should turn away patients for the lack of beds.

It is, scandalous for our topmost health facility that boasts of a medical school and five other affiliate schools which trains an array of health professionals, to lack adequate beds to cater for patients in this country

We agree that Korle-Bu, cannot cater for the majority of patients at the same time, but to turn away patients in serious health conditions such as Simon Agboe who have been referred to the facility from another clinic, is suicidal.

The nagging question is, where else is this patient expected to go, when Korle-Bu which is the last stop is refusing to accept him with a flimsy excuse of bed shortage?

The Times cannot understand why Korle-Bu should accept patients from other foreign countries such as The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, among others, while it refuses to cater for those in Ghana.

We believe that Simon Agboe’s case is not in isolation. There may be many out there who are witnessing the same fate.

We have devoted our editorial today to draw public attention to these pathetic cases in order to galvanise all stakeholders, including the government, to come to the aid of Korle-Bu to expand its bed capacity and also to provide the necessary logistics to enhance health care delivery.

We do not want to sit aloof. We also do not wish any calamity to befall Simon and all those who are in a similar situation. All that we are praying for is for Simon and all others to get the appropriate health care and also good health for Korle-Bu and all the patients under its care.

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