Opinion

Djokoto’s Diary: Healthcare concerns and reform

Concerns

“Vince, the President has scheduled a grand durbar to outdoor the newly procured ambulances”, a colleague, notorious for his sarcasm, said. “Get out of here!”, I replied, with a grin. I took his remarks with a pinch of salt, genuinely convinced this was an expensive joke.

Next thing: he showed me, for the avoidance of doubt, a flyer designed by the Jubilee House. I was livid. I found this utterly bizarre and dreadfully myopic. I still do.

Why is the average Ghanaian politician driven by a shameful insatiable desire to exploit every little situation for political points?

The durbar was a blatant display of absolute disregard for the millions of Ghanaian households that lack access to functioning ambulances which, despite the recent purchases, are still woefully inadequate. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rude awakening that successive governments haven’t done enough to improve the standards of public health. A few hundreds of ambulances can barely manage a health crisis within Accra, the capital city; it obviously isn’t sufficient to service over 28 million Ghanaians nationwide. 

Tax-paying citizens, who have done everything the Republic has asked of them, deserve a government that protects socioeconomic rights such as healthcare.

It is unjust that an elderly Ghanaian woman, who has worked hard her whole life, in a decent profession, earns a pension which barely covers her monthly medical costs. No one deserves to go broke because they get sick.

It is inhuman that a Ghanaian woman has no choice but to endure the pain of childbirth, without any professional medical care during labour or patient care after, because our healthcare system is a complete mess.

Reform

We need to cut taxes for businesses so employers can cover routine medical check-ups and insurance plans for workers.

Across public centres of scholarship, we must ensure students are eating healthy and that there is modern infrastructure for healthcare services. We can get this done if financial incentives for free nutritional food are increased. We also need to commit more funds toward physical education and provide grants for monthly health workshops. These workshops would include health screenings and other preventive interventions, coordinated by medical personnel deployed to school-based clinics, to help Ghanaians make better lifestyle choices.

Every single politician has encountered constituents with tragic stories. You’ve assured them that there are better times ahead. You can fulfil your promises to constituents if you take into consideration, the impact of economic policies on public health.

Ghana is a work in progress. Let’s stay focused – there’s no time to waste. Politics is a profession for visionaries; it isn’t a circus for illusions and ploys.

Each Ghanaian citizen deserves an affordable healthcare plan, especially for people with chronic illnesses who urgently need help. We can get it done.

Remember: it isn’t every citizen that can afford the luxury of private healthcare. If there is one social concern that can unite citizens across partisan lines for reform, it is affordable public healthcare.