Chiefs in the Wa municipality of the Upper West Region have expressed grave concern over the deplorable state of health care delivery in the area.
The paramount chief of the Waala traditional area, Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV who raised the concern at a durbar of chiefs to welcome President Akufo Addo to his palace.
He said most patients in the area are compelled to seek medical care outside the municipality due to the lack of doctors and other critical staff to man the municipal and regional hospitals located in the area.
The Wa Municipality is the host of the Upper West Regional Hospital which is the major referral health facility in the region.
The area can also boast of over 20 CHPS compounds and other health facilities.
But it appears residents are not getting the best of healthcare from these facilities as there are growing concerns over the number of referrals outside the former Upper West Regional hospital which has been downgraded to municipal status.
Available records from the facility indicate that more than 30 patients have been referred since January 2020 due to the lack of doctors and other critical staff.
52-year-old Sulemana Salifu told Citi News that he is looking for an amount of GHS1,200 to settle the bill of his wife who was in labour at the hospital but was referred to a private clinic.
“My wife got to the regional hospital on Saturday for delivery. She was there till Tuesday and we were told that they were to carry out a caesarean section on her. We were there and the nurse came and said she was referred to a private clinic. So we went there. The doctor there told me it will cost GHS1,200 which is far above my pocket. It is actually a problem for me. But once it is about life, so I had to look elsewhere to cough out the money.”
Paramount chief raises concern
This situation has attracted the attention of chiefs in the municipality.
The paramount chief of the Waala traditional area, Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV addressing a durbar of chiefs and people to welcome the president to his palace on Thursday decried the doctor-patient ratio in the region and urged the government to address it.
“Things are not well here in the municipality. We all know that referrals are from the private facilities to the regional hospital but here we are rather being transferred from the regional facility to a private clinic.
The government must do something. We are suffering. There are no doctors.”
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo said the government is working to addressing the situation.
Health situation in Upper West. The newly commissioned Upper West Regional Hospital was opened to the public last month.
Regrettably, the facility is not fully functional because there are no doctors. Per the Ghana Health Service standards, the regional hospital needs at least 30 doctors to be fully operational.
However, there are only four doctors, with some on-call to other districts.
This has compelled managers of the facility who remain tight-lipped to close down five units including the paediatrics unit, urology unit, cardiology unit, neurology unit, and the ophthalmology unit.
The 160-bed capacity ultra-modern hospital also has no general surgeon. The Wa municipality has less than three doctors serving over 100,000 residents.