20.02.2022 Feature Article

Who Cares For The Health Care Provider?

Who Cares For The Health Care Provider?
20.02.2022 LISTEN

I’ve often maintained that the salary any health personnel or professional earn doesn’t commensurate or tally with the magnitude of risk and work they do. Coming from a home of health professionals, trust me I understand every nitty-gritty regarding the plight of the health professionals. Take for instance, time. That is a luxury a health professional rarely gets to spend with their immediate family amid a litany and a pyramid of social events they must and should make time for else they’re tagged in negative light. Whilst constantly, literally beating themselves up for having no social lives aside Society’s indiscriminate isolation of them. Not to mention the countless nights apart newly weds have to spend because the job calls.

It takes an exceptional partner to marry a health professional. Because you see, you’d have to understand that your wife, or husband isn’t only yours but that of their patients who may need them in the middle of the night. You’ll have to embrace and live with the fact that someone has entrusted their live into the hands of your partner and expects they play God in the healing process. Amid the stress, they sometimes might utter words inappropriate to a patient or patient relative and may suffer an image damage when and if reported. Lives depend on them and sometimes they have to make a judgment call in split seconds. If they get it right, they’re applauded. If they get it wrong they’re abashed. Zero room for sympathies or empathies.

They have to live with the ever lingering images of their ghost patients they unduly blame themselves over and carry such a burden so huge any other individual rarely understands. Always having second thoughts and second guessing what they missed. Rhetorically querying themselves about what they could have done distinctively to save a live. Under extreme fatigue, they sometimes make bad judgement calls and patients die. They maybe lucky if patient relatives don’t sue for damages or negligence. And even if they don’t, the conscience of a health professional is his/her best punisher.

Personal risks is a factor people rarely consider. Needle pricks is the most dangerous yet with a very frequent occurrence. This simply means that a health professional is subject and exposed to whatever condition a patient has. Most especially, infectious diseases be it haematological or respiratory such as HIV/Aids, Hep B and C, Tuberculosis and the novel Covid-19. Such diseases they carry right to the doorstep and comfort of their homes. Not only exposing themselves but exposing their loved ones as well. Research shows that, a lot of health professionals had died due to HIV simply because of a needle prick in the discharge of their duties handling an HIV infected patient.

Without going far, Coronavirus pandemic broke out, research revealed that those who have contacted the virus in the early stages were mostly first responders and these were either doctors or nurses. Same research points to the fact that, of the many deaths related to Coronavirus, doctors and nurses constitutes a large percentage.

Having chronicled and pointed out clearly the hazards of the health professionals, would it then not come to you as a surprise that most health personnel or professional die simply because they have a health condition and cannot afford treatment? Mostly have had to go through the most dehumanizing ordeal of having to appeal for funds to cater for surgeries? What’s even more sad to note however, is that they end up dying having raised nearly half or complete the amount needed for their treatment. Then I ask myself what’s the role of their employer? In this case Ghana Health Service or Ministry of Health. Will they not return to work if they survive the treatment? So is there no support system in place for health personnel or professionals? Can there be a fund set aside for health personnel or professionals? What’s Government’s input in all of these scenarios cited. Do those who nurse and treat not deserve treatment too? I’ll engage further stakeholders and health personnel or professionals and write extensively on the possible sources funding available for health personnel or professional and their immediate dependents when they fall sick.

© Rafiq Thompson

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