A recent report about a 70-year old man who died in a car at a hospital in Accra after six other hospitals refused to admit him due to lack of beds has ignited a call for a campaign to end what many say is fast becoming a debacle in Ghana’s health system.
Anthony Opoku Acheampong reportedly died at the LEKMA Hospital after traversing some six hospitals to seek treatment for what his son, Ishmael Opoku, said was an emergency situation characterised by a headache and dizziness.
Ishmael Opoku says none of the hospitals he visited administered first aid to stabilize the condition of his fainting father.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has promised to act swiftly to improve the situation, however, the incident is building a groundswell for an immediate action from managers of the public health system as many say the problem has persisted for too long.
Renowned lawyer and lead member of pressure group OccupyGhana, Kojo Anan Ankoma, says the time has come to push the government to take the issue seriously.
Writing on his Facebook page, he states, “We can start the fight right here on social media. I propose #BedOrDead and #NoBedIsAGovtCrime as our hashtags. Post your experience and views on our healthcare system on FB, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. Call in and speak on the radio stations. Tell the government that ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’. If they can find money to buy government vehicles, they surely can find money and strategies to handle our health issues.”
He adds: “And it is time to start suing our health facilities. If a doctor/nurse/clinic/hospital fails, refuses or neglects to administer lifesaving care or delivers negligent care, sue the living daylights out of that bloody…”
Last week, Arthur Kennedy, a medical practitioner and a politician currently residing in the United States, said Ghanaian health professionals act unprofessionally when they fail to care for patients needing emergency care due of beds.
"It is unacceptable for health facilities to just send a nurse or worker out to tell the family, 'There is no bed. Go to Korle-bu/Ridge etc,'" he wrote in an article.
Many are particularly piqued by the fact that although many sick people die because of lack of beds, many completed public hospital projects remain unused due to bizarre reasons.
Accra-based Citi FM's Kojo Akoto stated the following in an article: "Ghanaians are dying senseless deaths because of poor leadership. Millions of dollars have been sunk into infrastructure that is either completed and unused, way behind schedule or wholly abandoned due to corruption and the ineptitude of leadership in the country."
Below are some Facebook comments calling for action about the 'no-bed syndrome'.