Every patient in the hospital deserves a voice

feature by Hannah Awadzi

Accra, Oct. 03, GNA – Going to the hospital in
Ghana is a nightmare, I told a doctor, and I hate hospitals for the fact that
usually the patient, I chose to call them clients voice is drowned in the whole
process of diagnoses and treatment.

It seems to me that sometimes the doctors are
themselves confused as to what treatment plan to use in treating certain kinds
of illness and in a bid to present themselves as superior and all-knowing tend
to frustrate their clients even the more

The saying “If you cannot convince them,
confuse them” is usually demonstrated in a hospital setting most of the time
and I think the patient charter which many ordinary Ghanaians do not know about
anyway is always thrown to the dogs.

In my opinion, if you really want to see
people being threatened in the real sense of the word go to a hospital with a
child who has cerebral palsy. Usually parents’ opinions are seen as obstructing
the medical process as one nurse told me.

That is why the People for Health Programme is
welcomed news to me – a lot of abuse occurs in our hospitals in Ghana but who
do you report to, has been a lingering question on my mind for years.

And should you be able to report through their
suggestion box, how sure are you that anybody will pay attention to you,
sometimes, the fear of being a victim in the hospital will let common sense
tell you to “shut up” instead of speaking up.

A woman told me her daughter was having a high
temperature, being a pharmacist herself, she administered paracetamol and
proceeded to the hospital with the child.

Upon reaching the hospital, the nurses check
the child’s temperature and decide to give the child paracetamol while she
waits to see a doctor.

The woman explained to the nurse that she had
already given paracetamol just before they came to the hospital and the
medicine should be given at a four-hour interval that there could be a problem
with an overdose.

For doing that, she was left unattended to for
hours. After the interminable wait, she decided to enquire why nobody had
attended to her child, the nurse said: “It seems you already know what to do,
that is why we have left you, if you can attend to your child, why did you
bring her”.

In the Ghanaian hospital setting, a patient or
client is supposed to be mute, you cannot talk or else you face victimization.

The People for Health project is aimed at
reducing inequities in the delivery of health services through the promotion of
good governance practices of accountability, transparency, equity and

People for Health empowers the ordinary
Ghanaian to voice out their concerns with regards to service delivery in the
health sector by providing a platform for clients to report issues of concern
that needs to be addressed.

“People for Health (P4H),” is ensuring
improved access to quality health service delivery for citizens in 20 districts
selected from four regions.

The P4H project seeks to strengthen
organisational and institutional capacities of government and civil society
organisations (CSOs) for mutual accountability in health, HIV, water,
sanitation and hygiene, family planning and nutrition policy formulation and

The five-year project- March 2016- March 2021
is being implemented by a consortium of three organisations led by SEND-Ghana,
a non-governmental organisation (NGO), with Penplusbytes another NGO and the
Ghana News Agency as partners, and sponsored by the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID).

The target regions include Greater Accra,
Eastern, Northern and Volta while the districts comprised Karaga, Central Gonja
and Yendi Municipality.

Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief of Party of the P4H
Project, said the goal was to leverage opportunities for change, building on
consortium members’ existing good relations with local government, District
Health Management Teams and the USAID ongoing initiatives in the health sector.

He said consortium members would work to
increase citizens’ voices to demand and champion improved access to quality
health services.

The project hopes to improve inclusiveness and
equity, helping to make the country a model for a health system which serves
the people according to their needs.

Effective monitoring in the health facilities
would ensure good management for increasing efficiency and effectiveness of
health services.

After going through the health fair organized
by Penplusbytes last Thursday, I said to them, I wish this project  huge success such that it would be scaled up
to cover the whole country because seriously the patients or clients of every
hospital in Ghana deserves a voice.


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