Pulse Cares: Ghanaians share bizarre experiences with Ghana’s health system

Ghana’s health system has been under the spotlight for many years, but very little improvement has been seen despite numerous complaints from citizens…

Pulse Cares: Ghanaians share bizarre experiences with Ghana’s health system

In this part of the world, it is rare to see grown men shedding tears, let alone weeping uncontrollably. Nothing, however, could stop this man from drowning in his own tears following the death of his wife at the Manhyia District Hospital in Kumasi.

In a video that went viral on social media in April, the man was seen crying while narrating how medical negligence on the part of the doctors and nurses led to his partner’s unfortunate demise.

From his narration, it was clear that her death was avoidable. Had the health workers been more diligent, tactful and compassionate, his wife would’ve survived. But, according to him, they took monies from him without issuing receipts, and abandoned his wife at some point as she lay haplessly on her sickbed.

Like this man, several Ghanaians have also had cause to complain about Ghana’s poor health system and how negligence on the part of health workers has either led to the worsening of a relative’s disease or even death in some cases.

Pulse Cares, a series by Pulse.com.gh, therefore, seeks to curate the experiences of Ghanaians with the country’s health system in order to bring to light the failures of the system.

Oswald is a business owner in Accra and has over 10 people working under him. As diligent as he is in his field of work, the 32-year-old doesn’t believe Ghana’s health system possesses the same level of professionalism.

Narrating his experience with Ghana’s health system, Oswald said he visited the Amasaman Hospital earlier this year after feeling a bit of pain in his tooth. However, his search for a remedy led to him realizing just how poor the country’s health system is.

My encounter was at the Amasaman Hospital. I went there very early because I knew that was one of the hospitals where you can arrive there early and depart very late,” he narrated to Pulse.com.gh.

“I got there around 7:00am in the morning, but I waited until the nurses in the dental unit came around 9:00am. And even after the long wait, they (nurses) come and just greet you and won’t say anything or apologise for being late or something.

“Also, we’ll be in a queue and someone will just circumvent and go and see the doctor. People were skipping the queue and it seemed as if they were already known by the doctors and nurses.

According to Oswald, he got the feeling that some of the health practitioners were taking advantage of the system by referring patients to their own facilities, instead of treating them at the government hospitals.

He recounted how one doctor asked him to visit another facility for an x-ray on his tooth, when that could’ve been done at the Amasaman Hospital at a cheaper cost.

I was there for consultation on my tooth and I wanted to know whether to take the tooth out or not. When it got to my turn, I was told to another facility to have my x-ray when they actually had an in-house x-ray at the Amasaman hospital,” Oswald recalled.

“I didn’t understand it. Why would you have an x-say there and still ask me to go to another facility. And I was in pain that day so I really wanted everything done quickly. So I went to the prescribed place but the price they mentioned was too huge, so I just forgot about them, went on the internet and found a private dental facility to attend. That is how I got my tooth fixed.

Oswald is just one of many Ghanaians who are beginning to lose faith in Ghana’s health system. In Maxwell’s case, he said he was made to pay for a folder even when he had a functioning National Health Insurance (NHIS) card.

“With my NHIS, I still had to pay for a folder. I paid but a student was denied treatment because he couldn't afford to for the folder,” he said in the form of a comment under an Instagram post by Pulse Ghana.

Nana Ama also fumed: “My experience was at Korle Bu hospital. When we got there my grandma had suffered a mild stroke [but] there was no bed. I saw people in plastic chairs with drip so my grandma was treated in the car we brought.”

Maria’s experience was similar to that of Nana Ama: “My Grandma suffered a mild stroke in the 37 Military Hospital car park and luckily for her a stranger saw and took her to the hospital.

“My grandma was responsive but she was a bit slow. The doctors and nurses put her in a wheelchair and left her in a corner of the hospital. It was when my grandfather (who is a veteran) went to the hospital that they decided to see to her.”

She continued: “They admitted her but it was too late because apparently when you have a stroke there are some measures you take to prevent the damage from getting severe and they did not take those measures.

“Fast forward to two days after she was admitted, they started her physiotherapy which was too early as her body had already been through so much and she suffered a severe stroke leaving her right side totally paralyzed and she hasn’t been the same for three years now. Ghana healthcare for you.”

From the accounts of the above persons, it’s clear that Ghana’s health delivery system is currently not the best and change is needed immediately.

We at Pulse Ghana, therefore, call on the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to take the necessary steps to effect the change that is needed to make hospitals a safe place for all Ghanaians.

NB: All the names used in this article are pseudonyms, as the characters asked that their identities be preserved.

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