The President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, says the appointment of non-medics to manage the country’s teaching and general Hospitals is largely to blame for the many challenges these health facilities face.
The GMA President, who was speaking to Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio, in reaction to the Health Ministry’s directive following investigations into the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital missing baby saga, described the directives by the Ministry as harsh. The Ministry after its investigations into the incident asked the hospital to produce the body of the baby together with four other stillborn babies in 14 days. The Ministry also asked the Midwife who was at post on that fateful day to take her accumulated leave.
The medical doctor on duty at the labour ward who attended to the mother of the missing baby, has also been asked to take his accumulated leave. But the Ministry’s directives have not gone down well with the GMA. It’s President, Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei told Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene that the directives are harsh and may affect healthcare delivery at the hospital.
“Our concern is that, we just read it from the newspapers. And we want to believe that it is a fair representation from whatever the Health Minister said. It appears that there was no discussion between the Minister and the management of KATH and their board. These are people who have been put there to manage the Hospital so if the Minister is going in there to micro-manage the hospital and prescribe punishments when investigative processes have not even ended, then it’s a very serious issue. What it means is that, if water is not flowing in the hospital, she will go there and make sure water is flowing. If they haven’t swept the place the Minister will ensure the place is clean and all that. That’s not how governance is done” he stated.
“How can the Minister ask somebody to proceed on leave? We are not in the military era where a Minister stands somewhere and say someone should proceed on leave. I don’t think she has those powers to say that. I wish it was not true. I wish the Hospital’s management and their board will stand up to what the Minister said because if we are not careful every day we will go back to the military era where people will be micro-managing the Hospital just like telemedicine. If all doctors were to go on leave 46 working days every year, do you know what will happen at our Hospitals” he quizzed.
The GMA President also bemoaned the appointment of non-medics as managers of the country’s teaching Hospitals adding that is partly to blame for these challenges.
“It happened in a similar circumstance with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and quickly they set up a committee but the report could not be published because it was so bad. This is what is repeating itself. If we leave the system to non-professionals and they mess up the system, you should not come and punish the professionals” he stated.
“Currently the Acting CEO is a non-medic. They say he is a Reverend. If you come to KATH, the CEO is not a mainstream doctor although he is a biochemist. So if things don’t go well don’t blame the proper professionals. If you go to ECG, they have electrical engineers heading regional offices; if you go to Water Company it’s the same. So why is it that when it comes to health, you want reverends and fathers and Christmas people to come and head our teaching and general hospitals?” he asked in awe.
“If the system did not work properly, they should not use individuals as scapegoats. KATH’s oxygen plant has not been working for more than one year. What is the Ministry doing about it? It’s not everything that internally generated funds can provide. There are so many of such issues” he stated.