Cholera patients allege extortion at Mamprobi Polyclinic

Contrary to a government directive to hospitals and clinics to treat cholera patients for free, nurses at the Mamprobi Polyclinic in Accra are said to be charging before treating patients.

Frustrated relatives of cholera patients who have gone to the polyclinic to seek medical treatment told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku-Gapko they are overwhelmed by charges for almost everything.

A pack of intravenous infusion costs GHȼ 7.00, while 1.5ml of mixed Oral Rehydrated Salt (ORS), a very critical treatment for cholera patients cost GHȼ 6.00.

On the average a patient needs about 15 drips and more than 10 bottles of 1.5ml of ORS during treatment for cholera.

Husband of a cholera-infected pregnant woman said he paid GHȼ 72.00 to nurses before they attended to his weak wife.

Government implemented a free cholera treatment policy to enable cholera patients access free medical healthcare at government health facilities nationwide.

The disease has so far claimed 92 lives, with the numbers rising fast, according to figures from the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

More than 7,000 infections has so far been recorded of the disease that is bred by unsanitary conditions.

Government, has embarked on a fierce campaign to reduce filth and unsanitary conditions across the country, but especially in the Greater Accra Region, which has been worst affected by the disease.

Last Saturday, President Mahama joined the people of James Town in the Odododiodio Constituency in Accra to clean their sorroundings.

The purpose of the exercise was to encourage the people of the fishing community to cultivate the habit of regular clean ups.

Dr Simpson Boateng, Accra metro Health Director told Newsnight news anchor Dzifa Bampoh Tuesday he has not heard about nurses charging fees for treatment of the disease when it is supposed to be free.

He said if the allegations by the patients and their relatives are true, then it is wrong.

He has promised to look into the matter.
However, Director of the Ghana Health Service said although it is unfortunate if health officials are charging for cholera treatments, there could be justification for it.

“With such large scale [of cholera outbreat] it becomes difficult to sustain it”, he said suggesting that nurses themselves maybe overwhelmed by the lack of logistics for treatment.

But he reiterated that treatment for the disease remains free in principle. Story by Ghana | | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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