We were shocked to learn that a 70-year-old man reportedly died in his car at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie after seven hospitals turned him away, claiming there were no beds. We are also gratified to learn that the Ghana Health Service is immediately setting up an investigating committee to probe the incident.
The issue has generated a lot of public interest and Ghanaians are wondering why our health facilities persistently refuse to attend to patients under the pretext of ‘no-bed’! This then means we need to pay far more attention to healthcare than we are currently doing, since the wealth of the nation is in its people.
How can a patient be rejected from a health facility simply because it is perceived that he/she is old, allegedly; or because of coming from a deprived background or any other flimsy reason. Health delivery in the country is nothing to write home about, and the health officials also do not display any sense of duty. It appears they are more interested in making money rather than tending to the sick.
This form of negligence has cost the life of someone who could easily have been treated for blood pressure or any other ailment but was left to meet his fate simply because attendants refused to come to his aid.
Well, the GHS Director-General Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare has given the strongest indication that after the probe this might be the last situation where a patient is denied health care on flimsy excuses. We need stronger systems that care for the aged and the vulnerable, because this insensitive attitude that pervades the health service is a blot on the conscience of well-meaning Ghanaians.
If it is necessary that we assign more budgetary allocations to improve the standard of health delivery in the country, then so be it. We cannot have a system that betrays our rating as a lower middle-income country.
Indeed, we sincerely hope that we can hold Dr. Nsiah-Asare to his word that this will be the last of such incidents. We believe the Ghana Health Service can do much more to provide citizens with decent healthcare – and show much more commitment to duty.