Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Ghana Medical School and former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Professor Alex Dodoo has called for a paradigm shift in our governance structure from career politicians to technocrats who have the requisite skills and competence to move the country forward in the various sectors.
Speaking on Alex Dodoo’s Take on Multi TV on the topic: “Health, wealth and national regeneration”, he said politicians have woefully failed this country with many policies which are politically motivated, self-gratifying and not carefully thought-through; hence the need for alternative voices and direction from experts and professionals who will bring value and provide solutions, rather than inexperienced politicians.
He was joined on the show by Dr Roberta Lamptey, a consultant physician at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Mr. John Allotey, a Pharmacist and area Manager for Becton Dickinson, an American medical research and diagnostics tools company.
Prof Dodoo recalled that in 2012, when Italy was hit by economic crisis, career politicians were made to step aside for technocrats to take over and tackle the key problems confronting the country, after which they (the technocrats) handed things back to the politicians.
“The Directive Principles of State Policy as contained in the 1992 constitution, provides that, in order to ensure a free and just society for the citizenry, the President shall report to Parliament at least once a year, all the steps taken to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives contained in this chapter and in particular the realisation of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good healthcare and education”, he quoted, and added that “Ghanaians are not receiving a full account of the stewardship of leadership”.
He further noted that, “we need a society where the poor and vulnerable have the same protection as the rich and powerful, not a country where basically might is all”
‘The power of the right is more powerful than the right of power’ he stressed.
Professor Dodoo, who is also a consultant with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in spelling out the definition of health according to the WHO said, ‘It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.’
This means, adequate food, water, clothing, housing, healthcare, education, security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability old age and conditions which are beyond one’s control.
In reference to the definition, John Allotey said many Ghanaians are not generally healthy because of our current rate of unemployment and social welfare systems.
In his view, people don’t often go to the hospitals because they cannot afford it and there isn’t enough funding for the health sector. He added that, the wealth of a nation is the health of its people, and that, the one-touch national health insurance scheme was overly politicised and currently being confronted with many challenges with the payment of premiums.
Mr. Allotey added that, ‘Ghana is not poor but rather a poorly managed nation’.
In Ghana and many countries in Africa, politics is seen as a business and not a service. He emphasised that government has no business being in business; rather, its role is to create an enabling environment for business to thrive.
The current economic situation, coupled with the depreciation of the cedi against major trading currencies, in his view, creates a poor environment for businesses to thrive.
‘The middle class must decide to get involved in governance and stand up to our leaders to be accountable to us.’ He pointed, adding that, the recent ‘occupy flagstaff house’ protests by the middle class in Ghana is a clear signal of the mood of the people. Regardless of the numbers that turned up, ‘If the middle class is saying enough is enough, how about the average guy on the street’, he asked.
On issues of health, Dr Lamptey revealed there have been many reported cases of cardiovascular conditions in recent times. This is due to obesity and hypertension, which make people prone to diabetes and other health complications. She mentioned that, most of these conditions are asymptomatic, because ‘they show no symptoms in your body and you feel well but there is a lot going wrong in your body.’
She advised individuals to do regular check-ups and screen for early diagnosis of any health conditions to prevent complications. Patient compliance with taking prescribed drugs, regular exercising and nutritional recommendations are keys to good health, she added.
On infectious and non-infectious diseases such as the recent cholera outbreak in parts of Greater Accra and other regions, Dr Lamptey advised individuals to wash their hands regularly, practice good sanitation and consult doctors regularly.
Speaking on the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in parts of West Africa, she is saddened that education on the disease is very poor and many people do not know of the signs and symptoms of the virus and how to protect themselves. She called for better education and collaboration amongst all appropriate authorities to ensure the nation is not struck by this pandemic.
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