Is this really a hospital or not? Is that really a nurse or a doctor? How long must I wait? How long must I suffer? Am I here to recover or to die? I believe most of us have asked these questions over and over again each time we have visited a healthcare center within the country especially the public ones. It is sometimes really sad and unbearable when we have to sit, watch and listen at a hospital reception, emergency room, or at the out-patients department as people suffer in pain. Most often, their silent cries, tears, moans and groans are the unmistakable and lasting memories we take home with us at the end of the day. The cries of little children as they cry their little hearts out to the helpless parents can be a heart-breaking experience. Others in critical conditions, unable to take this pain any more, have in the end given up ghost! The worse experiences most people have shared have had a health institution as its venue!

Each day in hospitals and clinics in the various regions within the country, patients die either on admission or at the out-patients departments respectively. These deaths have in a lot of cases been as a result of negligence on the part of medical personnel within these health centers. This negligence has most often been largely as a result of delays! Several people have varied experiences and stories to share on this issue of negligence in hospitals! It would be quite intriguing if a platform was provided for people to share their various experiences.

Quite recently, I was indeed overwhelmed with surprise when a friend narrated his ordeal after he was rushed in the middle of the night to one of the regional hospitals within the country only to meet an empty reception. Apparently, the doctor on duty and others where no where to be found! They had gone to sleep! Considering the seriousness of his condition, I was really surprised by his encounter. As if that was not enough, this friend also shared another unbelievable occurrence in this hospital that same night. Another person was rushed to this hospital as an emergency. He was however surprised when this unconscious person, in his unconscious state, was ushered into a seat! Can you picture this? An unconscious person being seated in the reception of a hospital! There was no medical personnel around to attend to this emergency! Oh Ghana!

This is just the encounter of an individual but he represents several people. This is what is happening in our health institutions within this country. People seeking refuge and relief in our hospitals and clinics are continually disappointed. A lot of people have died as a result of negligence of duties. The situations in our wards most especially cannot be overemphasized. Most patients on admission are usually at the mercy of some heartless attendants who ignore, verbally abused or compound the medical conditions of these helpless victims.

People go to the hospital in the event of an illness to seek relief and not dejection! People visit the hospital to seek remedy and not condemnation! The healthcare profession is indeed a noble one! In fact, it is a religious one! It is however unfortunate that some unscrupulous people have taken this platform to perpetuate their own evil intents of inflicting pain on people instead of relief!

The general atmosphere in our hospitals is one of helplessness and hopelessness! From the old and rundown furniture, congested wards, outdated equipments, to the tired, angry-looking, and depressing faces of nurses and attendants, hospitals in Ghana have become the most dreaded places for most people. Of course, we cannot condemn the entire healthcare delivery system within the country. The state of most hospitals and medical centers within this country, both public and private leaves more to be desired! Most often, equipment and staff are woefully inadequate and hence makes the provision of the needed care and attention, practically impossible. It is sometimes amazing how lives are still saved in our healthcare institutions considering the working conditions! Facilities are either overused or understaffed. The issue of salaries and other benefits demanded by workers in this field has over the years not been met. Consequently, the frustrations of these workers have unfortunately been shed off on the unfortunate victims, patients! Is it then surprising to hear of maltreatment by medical staffs and the frequent strike actions by workers?

The blame game can go on endlessly but in the end, it all lies with us! This is a passionate appeal to our noble doctors, nurses and other attendants in our healthcare centers to be more compassionate, tolerant, and patient. Today, it is someone else in that sick bed but tomorrow, it could be you. Do unto others what you want done to you. For our leaders and government, we appeal for improvement in healthcare delivery through the provision of modern equipments and techniques of healthcare delivery. Most hospitals within the country lack the needed infrastructure. A lot of the structures serving as health centers within this country are in deplorable conditions. More funds should be directed at upgrading our healthcare delivery system. The future of our nation is dependent on the degree of economic activities, and this is dependent on our mortality rate. We need healthcare and not death care!

Source: Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.

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