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16.09.2005 Health

Hospitals urged to utilise policy on indigents, paupers

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Sekondi, Sept. 16, GNA - Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of the Interior has urged all hospitals to implement the government's policy on indigents and paupers.

He said medical personnel should use laid down procedures to grant such exemptions while the necessary reports should be forwarded to the appropriate quarters. Papa Ankomah, who is also Member of Parliament for Sekondi, said these on Friday when he paid a day's working to the Effia Nkwanta Hospital at Sekondi.

He said the policy was meant to assist the needy, aged and vulnerable in society to access health care and should not be ignored. Papa Ankomah said these when one Ato Gimarr, an Artist and resident at Adiembra a suburb of Sekondi, petitioned him to come to his aid because he had been discharged since September 5 this year, but was still being detained at the Hospital for non-payment of bills. Gimarr told the Minister that though his bill was around 1.2 million cedis, only 162,000 cedis was outstanding. Papa Ankomah said though some people were likely to abuse the indigent and pauper's policy, each case should be treated separately. Dr John Eghan, head of the Paediatrician Unit said malaria, anaemia and chest infections were major complaints brought to the Unit. He said the long delay in taking sick children to the hospital could be fatal and worsen their condition.

Dr Eghan noted that though the Insecticide Treated Bed-nets (ITNs) were readily available at weighing and other health centres at subsidized cost many parents were not using it and thereby exposing their children to malaria.

Mr Samuel Asamoah, a Senior Laboratory Technician at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital Blood Bank said running the bank was very expensive. He said due to the HIV/AIDS scare, many people were unwilling to voluntarily donate blood to stock the bank. Mr Asamoah appealed to the public to assist the bank with group donations to make blood readily available for all.

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