Gov’t Must Hold Health-Care Providers Accountable – Ghanaians

A section of Ghanaians have bitterly complained about the quality of services being rendered at the various health facilities across the country.

Reports indicate that some nurses and doctors in Ghana do not offer quality services and are mostly sluggish and negligent in delivering their responsibilities and duties.

Most people who have encountered such healthcare providers report that they are sometimes verbally abused when they question or seek explanation for medications and treatment options.

Such situations have mostly led to preventable deaths especially in maternal cases and other emergency cases.

Complaints and Experiences

Some callers who called to share their experiences on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday craved for accountability, attention to detail, avoidance of negligence from health practitioners and health care givers to safeguard the lives of Ghanaians.

They questioned why health officials are rarely punished or sanctioned for negligence by their governing bodies and why patients who make it a point to ask questions and demand answers from health officers are vilified and verbally abused.

A caller who gave his name as Michael stated that a doctor who was to attend to him spent about five minutes on his phone and when he proceeded to ask “why are you delaying me? It’s better I didn’t ask that question that day.”

A lady called Nana Aba who called in from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra indicated she had had several bad experiences at hospitals and one nearly cost the life of her child when a nurse on duty misread the doctor’s signature as prescription for a drug.

She recalled that “I took my little boy to one hospital and he was on admission. I knew he was done with all his drugs so my mum came to take over because I had to go to work. So I told her that he has finished with all his drugs so just in case they come and they want to introduce something new, let me know.”

“I came back to the hospital later in the evening and she had a long look on her face. Apparently, a nurse came in with an injection to inject him” but she refused to allow the nurse who go upset and verbally abused her mother for refusing the injections.

Nana Aba continued saying, “the nurse walks out and comes back looking apologetic” because she mistook the Doctor’s signature as a drug.

She opined that most often, the general practitioners refuse to give explanations for medication prescriptions but commended Specialist Doctors for offering information when needed.

A man who gave his name as Bishop, was of the opinion that the situation persists due to the absence of standards “to which we measure things and even if we have, they are not enforced.”

Another caller; Strongman from Wa in the Upper West Region fingered the administrators of the Wa Regional Hospital for failing to stock up medical supplies and equipment while they sit “aloof and do nothing about it…”

He indicated that due to the unavailability of new folders, “they are recycling old files. If your grandfather died in the Wa Regional hospital five years ago, forget about the medical records; you won’t get them. They have torn off the information page, they have torn off the few pages that have been using and now they have put white paper on the names and have re-written the name of a different patient and the pages that have torn have been burnt.”

Eric from East Legon narrated that his wife miscarried her three-month old pregnancy due an instruction by a Doctor for her to self monitor the pregnancy after she reported complications.

“We went to a very renowned hospital and then we saw a Doctor. The Doctor after my wife narrated her ordeal did not even touch my wife. All he said was ‘go and monitor it further.’ We come on a Monday morning and they said ‘go home and monitor it further and if it gets worse, come back. We came home and in the evening around 12 o’clock, my wife started bleeding profusely and we rushed her to their Osu branch and my wife lost her baby. And even there, they said they had no beds and they tossed us up and down,” he recalled.

Eric also mentioned that his first son was given wrong prescription but for his vigilance, his son may have died.

He said: “My son had some issues on his face. We went to a Pharmacy center in East Legon. We went there and they gave us a drug. My wife likes reading these things only for her to realize the drug it had been stated clearly on it that it should not be administered onto children below six years. And I went there with the child. Should it have been something that he was supposed to take in, it would have caused something else to the boy.”

Kofi who called from Accra also shared his story that his wife lost her new born baby 24 hours after delivery because of negligence saying, “in 24 hours, the baby was left in a room alone and I went there and held my baby. Anytime I go back, the baby will be there alone so if something is happening to the baby, who will know at that time and take responsibility?”

According to him, majority of Ghanaians are suffering in silence “who have kept quiet for so long that they don’t want to vomit it out…but there are some people who are supposed to take responsibility for that.”

The Daily Heritage reported that 122 maternal deaths were recorded in the Eastern Region in 2013; a development the Deputy Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Asare Bediako Micah attributed to inadequate training of midwives, poor road networks, lack of funds and late antenatal attendant.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth while 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Ghana is hopeful of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of 185 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015.

So far, it has been reported that Ghana’s record on maternal mortality has improved from 540 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 350 per 100,000 live births.