The “cash and carry system” system of healthcare is set to return to Jirapa in the Upper West region due to accumulating debt owed health facilities by National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Medical Superintendent of the St. Joseph’s hospital, Dr. Richard Wudah-Seme said promises made to pay the amount at the end of April have yielded no results.
As at the end of December, 2016, the NHIA owed the facility 11 months claims amounting to GHC2,510,783.04.
He gave the startling revelation at the International Day of the sick organized by the hospital at Jirapa.
As at May 2017, we have only been reimbursed for the month of January, March and April of 2016 with the rest of the months outstanding.
We had assurances that by the end of April 2017, a significant reimbursement would have been done but I am very sad to report to all of you that as we speak there still have been no show,’’ Dr. Wudah stated.
The Jirapa St. Joseph's hospital is a 193-bed facility and serves a projected population of about 99,565. Due to its strategic location; it is the preferred choice for clients in the region and beyond.
Patient’s attendance has seen a sustained and increased attendance over the last decade. The hospital has expanded its services to include the provision of neonatal intensive care as well as breast and cervical cancer screening units.
The hospital's pharmacy is depleted and clients to the facility for the past few months have been buying drugs outside the facility for their cure.
Dr. Wudah-Seme warned that the hospital is at its wit's end and will be forced to return to the cash and carry system next week if the claims owed them are not paid.
‘‘We are therefore sending notices to our cherished clients to prepare themselves for the return of the cash and carry system next week. We have been forced to take this painful decision due to the seeming inertia on the part of the relevant authorities.
"Patients on admission have had to go out and buy their own drugs and surgeries have been cancelled because we are unable to procure basic consumables.
"Nosocomial infections are on the ascendency because we cannot provide cleaning agents and even gloves for our cleaners to keep the facility clean,’’ he added.
Another key challenge faced by the hospital is in the area of infrastructure.
The 23-bed surgical ward which originally meant for only males is now being shared by both sexes and he blamed the situation on the delay in the completion of the administration block which should have housed the pharmacy block.
A decade after construction work started at the site it has now been left abandoned and the administration block also taken over the female surgical ward.
He appealed to government to as a matter of urgency to help complete the administration block to ease congestion at the male surgical ward.
Despite the provision of a toilet facility for relatives of patients, the Medical Superintendent said they still take delight in open defecation inside the facility. He warned those involved to desist from the ‘‘shameful and primitive behavior’’ to avoid the hospital's wrath.
The International Day Of The Sick was instituted by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from Illness. People around the world take the time to pray for the sick and for those who work very hard to alleviate the sufferings of the sick.
The celebration of the day is always held on February 11 but due to certain challenges the hospital encountered could not hold the event hence its postponement.
Bishop of the Wa diocese, his Lordship Richard Kuuia Wobr led the charge to feed and pray for the sick and the workers of the hospital.
The occasion was also used to inaugurate the boards of the hospital and the various nursing training institutes established by the Catholic Church at Jirapa.
Prizes were also awarded to hard working staff of the hospital.