19.03.2008 Feature Article

A. R. Harruna Attah writes on...Letter to Kwami

A. R. Harruna Attah writes on...Letter to Kwami
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Dear Kwami
Service Delivery
Some time last week, Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, the Special Advisor to the President launched a programme for a number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to improve on their service deliveries to the public.

It is an initiative I fully endorse, but sadly, one I know would come to naught! I say this because if you launch these things and do not have a dedicated secretariat and a Czar to oversee it, you could as well not have started it.

Just yesterday, a person very close and dear to me went to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital – usually referred to as our premier referral hospital – to enquire about auto-immune diseases. She arrived at what she herself described as a swanky new building early enough. The building was as imposing as its name was grandiloquent: National Health Communication Resource Centre. She was impressed enough by the building to expect quality information from there...

As luck would have it, just before she entered the “Centre” a car drove by and stopped at the entrance. An official looking type stepped out and she took the opportunity to enquire from him whether he worked there. He replied, with authority, in the affirmative. He was, he said, the Data Officer. Well, she thought, she was in luck, because that was just the man she needed to help her!

She put her question to him. He mistook her question to mean she wanted information on HIV/AIDS and pointed to another building. No, she told him, I am not asking about HIV/AIDS, the information I need is on auto-immune diseases. The man took umbrage and Kwami, it is needless to recount the other details. But even if it was information on HIV/AIDS she requested for, shouldn't the Data Officer of the National Health Communication Centre have it at his finger tips?

Check this out Kwami: The Data Officer of the National Health Communication Resource Centre unable to provide information on auto-immune diseases and what's more confusing it with HIV/AIDS and even worse getting angry with a patient and sending the patient scurrying in fear without obtaining the information that sent her there...

Yeah, that's service delivery, Ghana style. I really hope and pray that whatever it is that Mrs. Chinery-Hesse inaugurated last week will help make a difference, but I doubt it...

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