Among the many amenities that the University of Ghana provides for its students is the provision of an efficient medical service system through its Students’ Clinic. Many observers in the community believe that without this free health support, the core aim of teaching and learning at the premier university would not run this smoothly.
There have, however, been some concerns raised by some students of the University about various challenges they go through while accessing health care at the Students’ Clinic. Officially referred to as the University of Ghana Students’ Clinic, it is the primary healthcare center that students report to for medical attention. It is only when the condition exceeds the clinic’s level that the case may be referred to the main University Hospital.
For the past few semesters, students who visit the Students’ Clinic have been complaining about the delay they experience while accessing medical care, the poor orientation about the healthcare process as well as the inadequate facilities at the clinic.
A student from the Population Studies Department, Doris Odei, recounts that she usually spends hours at the clinic before getting medical attention.
“One of the reasons for the delay can be associated with the long queue at the clinic, since it serves the large population of students in the university”, she said. Odei further explained that the worrying aspect of the delay has to do with getting the laboratory test done. Per the process, patients would have to input their details via Whatsapp to the laboratory and get feedback before samples can be taken. It can take as long as an hour or more to get that feedback which, according to Doris can be very disturbing for a sick person.
According to the laboratory technicians at the clinic, the message goes to the University of Ghana Medical Centre for approval before they can proceed. Sometimes one could wait so long on the excuse that the phone is off and is being charged or there can be network issues which can disrupt the transmission process.
An M.A. student of the Department of Communication Studies, Michelle Dede Quarcoo mentioned that there have been instances where the clinic refers a sick student to the hospital due to the gravity of the condition. However, the hospital refers the student back to receive the treatment at the clinic level. “It is very unhealthy for a sick person to be roaming to and from the clinic,” lamented Miss Quarcoo.
Miss Quarcoo added that, “I was once admitted at the university’s health facility for a while and got discharged even though I still felt unwell. Having returned to class, my condition worsened and I had to be admitted at a private hospital to receive adequate treatment before I could recover.”
Equally important, is the fact that some students are also oblivious that they are to first report to the clinic with their medical condition before going to the hospital. Therefore, they end up joining queues at the hospital first only to be told to report to the clinic. “Students should be properly oriented about the process one has to go through to access health care in the university” added Miss Quarcoo.
On the other hand, a student of the School of Biological Sciences of Collins Yeboah commended the clinic staff for keeping the clinic tidy as it contributes largely to the recovery process.
“The service they provide for us is of high quality. We really appreciate it,” he added.
An official of the Clinic who asked not to be named gave the assurance that the concerns expressed are being addressed systematically. According the the official, the University of Ghana Students’ Clinic’s main aim is to satisfy the health needs of students who are its main target. In doing so, it must regularly conduct satisfaction surveys to know where it stands in the minds of its target. The source stressed that it is helpful to make informed improvements where necessary from the insights gathered in order to provide effective and efficient services.
“The clinic will improve on the services it offers since healthy students are better learners.”
The writer is an MA Student of the Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana.