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Of GHS And No Bed Syndrome: Heads Must Roll!

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The never-ending reports of mess at the country’s healthcare delivery outlets are indeed worrying, but more worrying is the blame-game and virtual inaction of the movers and shakers of the nation’s health sector.

When news of what has become known as the ‘No Be Syndrome’ first broke, following the rejection of a 70-year old man by as many as seven hospitals (including Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital), and his subsequent death in his car, one would have thought that something drastic would have been done about the situation.

But in the wake of the brouhaha, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, absolved himself of blame, saying he was not adequately briefed about the magnitude of the problems at the various hospitals. He even said he was not aware that several completed healthcare outlets had been rotting away in some bushes across the country.

Surprisingly, no official from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has denied the claims by the minister.

What is however nerve-racking is that, ever since that unfortunate incident, GHS has not demonstrated its readiness to solve the problem. And as would be expected, barely a month after the untimely death of Prince Anthony Opoku-Acheampong, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s Surgical and Medical Emergency Unit had been hit again with this same syndrome, this time with greater ferocity.

Patients who were sent there in excruciating pain had to buy plastic chairs to enable doctors attend to them. Following that practice, an elderly woman, who was made to sit in a plastic chair for TWO DAYS fell into coma and died.

This was compounded by the story of Angela Afriyie Agyemang, the 30-year-old pregnant woman who died at the Suntreso Government Hospital in the Ashanti Region after the facility failed to allow her into the labour ward because her husband could not immediately pay a GH¢500 ‘Doctor Motivation Fee’.

In fact, so bad was the situation that, KBTH decided to stop any further referrals from other health facilities, despite the minister’s directive not to turn away emergency cases. The Public Relations Officer of KBTH, Mr Mustapha Salifu, reportedly told the media the move was part of measures to decongest the facility.

In the ensuing melee, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) said the association could not be blamed for the mess. The General Secretary, Dr. Justice Yankson, attributed it to government’s failure to adequately invest in the health sector.

As if that was not enough, a neurosurgeon at KBTH, Dr Mohammed Hadi Abdallah, called for the resignation of the Minister and Director of GHS for failing to take decisions that inure to the benefit of patients.

With what has happened in the last few days, THE PUBLISHER cannot agree any better with those who think that some heads have to roll at the health sector.

The paper is of the considered opinion that Ghana Health Service, under the leadership of Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has woefully failed the people of Ghana. We think his ad-hoc measures, such as the provision of 65 beds for KBTH, cannot solve the myriad of problems in our hospitals.

Ghana does not deserve another avoidable death.

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