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28.06.2019 Feature Article

The Reign Of Abnormality

The Reign Of Abnormality
JUN 28, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

Sometimes I marvel if Ghana is the Ghana I grew up in and pledged to offer my services to and live and die for. The Ghana that took care of her sons and daughters and the Ghana whose sons and daughters worshiped and adored and was so proud of seems to have lost her glory and shine even within the comity of nations. Don't let us kid ourselves with the diplomatic shine showered on us occasionally by people who know very well that we are moving backwards as a nation.

Our state of affair does not stem from the fact that Ghana's geographical boundaries have changed nor has its independence and sovereignty been taken away from us. Our plight today as a nation has been dictated by the abnormal way all of us as citizens at all levels behave. In Ghana today, wrong things are normal and the few who make efforts to do what is right are considered as coming from different planets.

For me, human beings have the tendency to do what is wrong as long as the wrong doing pleases them as individuals. Every human being is a potential criminal; it is the enforcement of the laws and regulations of society that ensures sanity and orderliness in the society. There will always be a few deviants but a serious society is ready to mobilize all resources available to it to deal with such deviants wherever they may be.

It has become internationally accepted that members of societies must have certain freedoms and liberties and rights that accrue to them by virtue of their being human. What they call inalienable rights. Prominently among them is the freedom of religion which many nations including Ghana, have enshrined in their constitutions as a means of protecting religious adherents of diverse faiths.

It is becoming very clear in this country that some groups of individuals are abusing this freedom of religion with such impunity and to the levels of criminality. The problem for me, is not so much about the people engaged in these abuse of religious freedoms to the point of violating the rights of gullible citizens of this country who become victims in the exercise of their religious freedoms, but the blatant acquiescence of the criminal activities in the name of religion by state institutions who look on unconcerned for these crimes to be committed in the name of religion.

Today, unbearable noise from Churches with their attendant nuisance in residential areas in almost all our communities in Ghana have become normal in spite of the nuisance and the health problems they create for the people living there. The nation has accepted this as normal even though we have laws dealing with excessive and abnormal noise levels and we have state institutions paid to ensure that we all abide by the laws. Oddity turned normalcy.

Some religious facilities in this country have turned themselves into healing centres admitting people with physical health problems with the aim of healing them of their ailments. I am wondering how physical ailments can be spiritually dealt with in the 21st century. Serious churches have established Hospitals and Clinics all over the country knowing and believing that physical challenges require physical attention primarily, that is why they recruit trained and professional staff to work in those facilities and attend to the sick.

Yet, this country sits down unconcerned as some of our compatriots are detained in so-called prayer camps throughout the country in the name of offering health services to them when the operators of these camps do not have even the basic training to deal with health issues. A recent report from the Ghana Health Services indicate that 9 percent of women in the northern part of this country have maternal health complications during deliveries, 20 percent in the middle zone also go through health complications during deliveries while 26 percent of our women in the southern zone also go through health complications during deliveries.

The reasons are that those women, instead of going to the traditional health facilities during pregnancies, rather are kept at Prayer camps. The figures tell the story by themselves, it is low in the northern zone because they are predominantly Muslims and would have nothing to do with Prayer camps, the middle zone also have huge Muslim presence while the southern zone is predominantly Christians.

We are not told how many of such people from the Prayer Camps die on arrival at the health facilities from the Prayer Camps, but are the figures not scary? These Prayer Camp operators and the quack doctors we seldom arrest and prosecute, what is the difference between them? Many Ghanaians are rushed to the hospitals and Polyclinics from these Prayer Camps already dead and the state punishes no one for this? Which civilized world today would tolerate a parallel self –acclaimed medical practitioner, who believes that prayers will ensure safe and healthy delivery of women? Certainly in times of old and even in modern times, some women in labour are delivered of their babies at home without attending to any facility, but should we institutionalize and accept Prayer Camps as alternatives to modern medicine and maternal health care for that matter? I am getting sick.

It looks as if the state has been blackmailed into inaction by wrong doers in the society while the innocent suffer. Can't the state punish such operators of these Prayer Camps should their 'patients' be rushed to the traditional health facilities with complications and worse still, should they lose their lives 48 hours after they are brought to the facilities? Who is protecting our society and the numerous gullible ones among us? Please, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service must wake up to protect our mothers and sisters.

USE OF PHONES IN THE WORK PLACE

I again listened to the policy directives, perhaps yet to be implemented, that Nurses are going to be barred from using their mobile phones while on official duties. Some of the radio stations went round speaking to some nurses about how they have received the news. Naturally, they are not enthused by the policy and hoards of varying reasons were assigned to their opposition to the new policy.

Yes, we are in a different era where mobile phones have become part of us, making life reasonably comfortable for us, but is it not amazing to observe that in many public work places in this country, workers spend more time on their phones with unrelated issues to the actual work they have been employed to do? Sometimes it is so irritating to go to a public office to see an officer who is supposed to serve you or answer a few requests from you, busily and heartily chatting on matters unrelated to his or her work schedule. At his or her convenience, the question that comes is 'how may I help you'.

Nurses and Pharmacists in our health facilities play no mean roles in the health delivery services. Any unnecessary distractions from what they do when on duty can cause the life of a patient. Prof. Akosah is reported to have said that 40 percent of deaths in this country are caused by wrong drug prescriptions. Why should this happen? This country must make a law to address this misuse of official hours on phones and their negative consequences on productivity and in some cases consequential loss of lives.

Daavi, some three tots of mahogany bitters to face the weather.

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Kwesi Biney
Kwesi Biney, © 2019

This author has authored 87 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwesiBiney

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