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06.05.2019 Academic Article

Misplaced Priorities of Healthcare System in Ghana

Misplaced Priorities of Healthcare System in Ghana

Well, we’ve all had moments when our priorities weren’t quite in line. And we all can recognize misplaced priorities in other people, at least when they screw up badly. The fact is that nobody wants to waste his or her precious time, and so, even as we do less important things, we always focus on what matters most. That is the way it’s supposed to be, not the contrary.

For the purpose of this article, we would focus on the use of drone in the healthcare sector as a misplaced priority, even though there are other misplaced priorities.

Telecommunication drones are being used for diagnosis and treatment, perioperative evaluation, and tele-mentoring in remote areas. Drones have the potential to be reliable medical delivery platforms for microbiological and laboratory samples, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, emergency medical equipment, and patient transport.

Drones have the ability to gather real-time data cost-effectively, to deliver payloads and have initiated the rapid evolution of many industrial, commercial, and recreational applications. Unfortunately, there has been a slower expansion in the field of medicine.

Drones are used for surveillance of disaster sites and areas with biological hazards, as well as in epidemiology for research and tracking disease spread. Government agencies have placed drone use on the national agenda. The next steps include aggressive research initiatives in the areas of safety, industry expansion, increased public awareness, and participation.

Even though drone is important looking at the above merits they provide for healthcare system. But is it a priority for the healthcare sector of Ghana to introduce it?

There are important services like the lack beds at the ward, lack of drugs, lack of ambulances, lack of incubators, wheelchairs, autoclave machines, theatre beds, monitors, delivery beds etc ministry of health should attend to. There are times we are forced to send out patients because of lack of beds, some of them use mattresses on the floor but when that is all occupied then it is actually difficult to manage patients on chairs and benches, with this the quality of life of the distressed patient won’t improve or get worsened.

The amount of money we are going to spend to deliver these items could have been used to provide access to many people in terms of healthcare of facilities which will help improve the quality of life of our patients. In any case what is the terrain of this country such that you will need drones? It is a misplaced priority. We have not reached a place yet in Ghana where technology drives everything; we are still developing.

The challenges we have in our health system don’t need drones. People are dying not because there are no drones to deliver medical supplies. They are dying because the supplies aren’t available in the first place, so even if we get the drone what is it going to supply because there are no medical supplies.

The Ghana Medical Association has passed a damning verdict on the government’s plan to introduce drones for the delivery of essential medicines and blood across the country. It has called the government to suspend the deal because it does not fit into the country’s existing healthcare policy.

These are some of the important notes Ghana Medical Association about the drone and I think it would be helpful for this article.

First, health should not be politicized and that the health of Ghanaians is critical

Second, the GMA is not against the use of technology to improve healthcare in the country. However, every single intervention proposed in this direction should not be seen as a panacea to solving our healthcare problems, but rather as an augmentation to existing efforts.

Third, the proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in Ghana, where different levels of care have different capacities to perform specific functions.

Fourth, the use of drones without the necessary improvement in the human resource capacity will not inure to the benefit of the country in its quest to improve healthcare delivery.

Lastly, the Ghana Medical Association believes that we should take steps to improve our referral systems especially emergency situations which to all intents and purposes are more beneficial.

In conclusion, although, the drone is of advantage if the policy is being implemented but per the current state of our healthcare system it is of no importance, as stated earlier we could use this resource for the drone to improve the current state of the of health care system which will eventually improve the quality of life of our poor patients who walks into the facility to seek medical care.

Joseph Yieleh Chireh -Minority Spokesperson on Health


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