Tales From Korle-Bu

Tales from the country’s premier teaching and referral hospital made disturbing reading and mind boggling listening yesterday.

The stories were not about patients lying on the bare floor or outpatients being turned away because they were unable to foot the required bills; they touched on the integrity of the President’s representatives on the board of the health institution and its general management.

The reckless and shameless dissipation of the institution’s resources at the comfort of political animals constituting the board of directors as alleged by the senior staff representatives, was the crux of the stories catching the attention of the various newsrooms.

The all-pervading cases of graft, reckless management of resources, are not sparing any public institution, it would appear. We pray that the Korle-Bu stories, as they are being told, were exaggerated and that the referral institution is the only one without a moral blemish and therefore exempted from what is now a national challenge. And what better way to isolate these questions of integrity than a probe?

With unparalleled knowledge about developments within their turf, it is unlikely that the leadership of the senior staff would churn out baseless allegations. We might not be in a position to pass judgment on the allegations as they hit the public domain, but suffice it to mention that the self-serving nature of some CEOs and Presidency-appointed boards of directors have not endeared themselves to the good people of Ghana.

Earlier, Ghanaians were told about how a state-of-the-art Audi car had been acquired for the Chief Executive Officer of the referral hospital – an allegation the Reverend responded to almost swiftly. As to whether he was convincing or not is best left to the people of Ghana.

It is instructive though that the transaction was not disputed by the CEO who explained that he is entitled to a Korle Bu-purchased car anyway. We have taken note of his argument that under the present management so much money has been made by the institution. What he did not add though was whether the so-called financial turnaround of the hospital demands an expensive car for the CEO.

In a country where financial recklessness hardly attracts the attention and intervention of the Presidency, the Korle Bu story might be dwarfed by more serious ones.

It is our position, nonetheless, that the concerns of the senior staff association is dissected with a view to dealing with it decisively, unless those being mentioned are too connected to be screened.

In that case, the fear that there are too many sacred cows holding government appointments would have been given another worrying impetus.

Governors Slater and Guggisberg should be squirming in their graves at the thought of their pet projects now turned into a milking cow serving the needs of a selfish few.

Meanwhile, we think the decision by the Ministry of Health that management of the Teaching Hospital return the nine cars purchased for its directors is a step in the right direction.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Tony Goodman, due processes were not followed in procuring the vehicles.

We are monitoring events at the hospital with keen interest.