Heed This Appeal
The health needs of the people are a priority to all governments and their development agents because every society needs healthy people to prosecute its development agenda.
So long as the doctor/patient ratio is woefully low, there will be pressure on the few doctors in the system to help meet the health needs of the people.
Although the statistics are not available to everybody, it is common knowledge that medical facilities and health professionals cannot reach every nook and cranny of the country.
We have come a long way from the days when we had limited health facilities and professionals to the present when the government and religious bodies have teamed up to improve health infrastructure, as well as increase the number of professionals.
That is not all. The country has been blessed with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to help the people access quality health care, even though the scheme is fraught with challenges.
A few decades ago when the primary healthcare system was in vogue, health administrators made it clear that health facilities must be 10 kilometres apart in order to bring health care to the doorstep of the people.
For that reason, the government, in the 1980s, took steps to provide health posts and centres in many communities, as well as stepped up the training of community health nurses. However, we were not spared the attractions in the Western world where many of our professionals decided to travel to seek greener pastures.
Even today some health professionals still travel abroad to work, but in those ‘dark’ days we had hospitals without doctors, nurses and other health professionals, as well as medical consumables.
In retrospect, the additional duty allowance was introduced to motivate health professionals to stay at post to offer their services to the people. The situation is not the best, but efforts are underway to offer health professionals better conditions of service.
The activities of private practitioners do not make the situation as acute in the urban areas as it is in the rural areas, creating the enabling environment for quack health professionals to operate in the countryside.
The Daily Graphic is happy that once again President J.E.A. Mills has renewed his appeal to medical personnel to accept posting, without pre-conditions, to rural communities which constitute the country’s bread basket.
Inaugurating wards at the Atebubu Hospital, he said medical personnel should always show appreciation to the people in rural communities whose taxes went a long way to ensure their training by willingly accepting to work in their midst.
The Daily Graphic urges health professionals to heed the appeal by the President to extend their services to the doorstep of the people.
Majority of our people live in the rural areas where most of the productive activities, especially in agriculture, take place and productivity can be enhanced only by healthy people.
Health professionals take oaths to protect the sanctity of life and they will do justice to their oaths if the geography of their stations does not become the overriding factor for accepting to meet the health needs of the people.
The Daily Graphic believes that the challenge of health professionals refusing to accept posting to the rural areas will be addressed when all health professionals are made part of the National Service Scheme.
But we think doctors who have taken the Hippocratic Oath and other health professionals should have a sense of nationalism to serve anywhere in the country to contribute their quota to nation-building.