General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Dr Justice Yankson has said although Ghana is making some strides in the delivery of quality healthcare in the country, more needs to be done.
He said the government and stakeholders in the health sector should not be satisfied, but should rather put in place measures that will deal with the many challenges it is facing in certain areas.
Dr Yankson’s comment follows a number of Joy News reports highlighting the plight of patients in some parts of the country.
“Most times you will hear people say ‘we are better off compared to other countries’. Yes I agree, some neighbouring countries might not be where we are but then are we comparing ourselves to those who are already on the ground?
“I don’t think that is what we should be doing. We should rather be aiming at the top,” he added.
In Joy News’ Hashmin Mohammed's report from the Northern Region, patients at the Savelugu-Nanton hospital are compelled to share wards with dead bodies.
This is because the hospital’s morgue is dysfunctional, so authorities at the facility have to divide the already crowded wards to make room for the dead as well.
Still in the Northern region – Kpandai District – Joojo Cobbinah also reported on how a pregnant woman on the verge of delivery, had to be transported on a motorbike to a health facility.
she was sandwiched between her sister and husband and hardly able to balance on the motorbike and groaned in pain on the pothole-riddled road leading to the Kpandai Hospital.
At Nkwanta South District hospital, doctors have to improvise and pump air manually into the blood of patients during surgery because the only anaesthetic machine in the facility – decades old - had no ventilator.
Doctors told Seth Kwame Boateng that this was risky because unlike the machine, they are unable to detect whether the amount of air being pumped is too high or low.
And the slightest mistake on their part could leave the patient with serious health conditions.
Dr Yankson said developments such as these are totally unacceptable.
“If we really value the lives of our people, then we should be able to solve these things. As nation, we hear of all kinds of activities that we undertake and we hear the huge sums of money that are spent and sometimes you need just a little amount of money to fix some of these things
“What is the cost of one anaesthetic machine compared to a V8 for instance. I think that there is more value when it comes to an anaesthetic machine compared to buying a car,” he added.
He stressed that a lot more needs to be done to deal with these challenges, because not only is the health of Ghanaians important but good health systems in the long run benefits the country.
If done properly, he believes that it is the nation that stands to gain, he said, adding that “health care can bring you a lot of money so it is not just a resource. Aside the immediate benefits, we can also generate income from that area of the public sector.”
He believes that if people in authority set their priorities right, some of these issues will not come up.