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13.04.2006 Health

Ghana: National Health Care Must Be Rescued

By Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
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Last Friday, April 7 was World Health Day and was accordingly commemorated in the country with various experts in the health sector dilating on the topic 'Working Together for Health', with participants in Kasoa in the Central Region.

Health is vital to the development of every nation, hence the need for all, particularly government, to ensure that the health needs of the people are well catered for through adequate provision of health facilities.

This provision has to be done in an equitable manner such that all people whether in the city or remote areas get access to health facilities and medical staff as well.

It is against this background that we call government's attention to the deteriorating state of most health facilities throughout the country, especially in the rural areas.

For example, the recent report that the Ho Municipal Hospital that serves more than 260,000 people in some 857 communities is on the verge of collapse, prompted its authorities to call for urgent measures to save the situation.

This is just one of the many cases that bring to light the neglect of some critical issues (health inclusive) that needs to be given priority for the general well being of citizens, since the quality human resource depends on the quality of health.

Too often, such deplorable conditions of health facilities, coupled with inadequate staff - particularly medical officers in other cases, leaves the few personnel overburdened.

This results in unsatisfactory service delivery to the detriment of patients. Usually medical personnel vent their anger and frustrations, as a result of poor remuneration in addition to the pressure of high workload, on patients.

All these factors can account for some rural folks in particular resorting to unapproved methods for cure. The risk here is that while some people turn to uncertified herbalists or traditionalists, others adopt self-medication and rely on 'drug stores'.

It becomes more worrying because failure in quality health delivery increases the belief in spiritual causes of illnesses; an attitude that we must rather fight to change.

In this regard, The Chronicle appeals to government to prioritize issues of health in its agenda, especially in the rural areas, and also improve on those that are not in the best of shapes in urban centers.

It is also worth noting that health personnel should be properly remunerated and provided with accommodation. This will attract more people into the health field, and also help solve the brain drain problem that has bedeviled the nation.

In same light, it is important and would be extremely helpful for other stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations and individuals, especially citizens in affected areas, to contribute their quota to support the maintenance and provision of vital equipments to supplement government's efforts.

It is also in this vein that we congratulate staff of the Ho Municipal Hospital who have contributed an amount of ¢30,000,000 to begin the reconstruction of a new mortuary for the hospital.