Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has advocated a national health dialogue on the proliferation of health experts without identifiable sources, educating people through the mass media.
Prof Akosa was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on the sidelines of the 67th New Year School and Conference on the theme: ‘Promoting Universal Health for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Is the Information, Communication and Technology the Game Changer’.
“Some of these people speak with so much authority such that Ghanaians believe them; these are naturopathies, naturopathic practitioners, computer doctors, people who can say they can melt fibroid,” he said.
“And all these people are preying on the ill-health and sensitivity of the people of Ghana. I want us to begin to talk about the health of Ghanaians. Who should be doing these things? Which of these people are going against any standard practice? So that in the end, I say the patients who should be at the centre of the healthcare industry will benefit sincerely from knowledge that is generated in health,” Prof Akosa added.
The former director-general of the GHS continued…“People can’t just get up and begin to prescribe diets for people. People are now saying if you’ve got fibroid and this is the reason why you got the fibroid, and they are doing all sort of things.
“And the complications that they provide get back to hospitals with all the inadequate staff and at the end of the day Ghanaians are the worst for it.
“And I think it is time, let’s sit down and let’s debate. Who is a herbal practitioner? Who is a naturopathy? What knowledge do they acquire before they get that?
“You can go and bring a family health guide and read and come and stand on television and speak to people as if you are an authority. Is not done anywhere. And it should not be allowed in Ghana,” he said.
Prof Akosa said because Ghana has got a high rate of radio stations, anybody could go to any radio station and be given a platform “because he is paying for it to speak his mind on health issues to the people; stating that whether it has negative health implications or not, nobody cares.
“People are using computers to make diagnoses, people are writing 19 drug prescriptions. Is that what we should be doing in our healthcare system industry?
“And because people are on radio, people assume that they have the authority and the right to do what they are doing.
“I’m saying let’s all sit down, and let’s talk health,” he said.
Prof Akosa, who is the executive director of Healthy Ghana, also condemned the friction between laboratory scientists and laboratory physicians.
He mentioned that “we should be learning from those who have done things properly! Best practice, not anything! And let us know what relationship there is between laboratory physicians and the laboratory scientists. We cannot just do anything that we like.
“All these things should be part of this national health dialogue. At the end of it we are going to sit down and say this where health delivery should go.
“And I always say whatever we do, let’s put the patient at the centre; because any decision, any move should improve the health of the patient at the centre.”