Friday, April 10, 2009

First-rate hospitals and medical institutions in Ghana

When a female soldier in a Ghanaian movie (Scorned) was shot in the line of duty and taken to hospital, she wasn't taken to Korle Bu. She was taken to Lister Hospital, a modern healthcare facility in Accra, not very far from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange. Lister's website says the Lister Hospital and Fertility Centre is the most technologically advanced private hospital in West Africa. From the movie and the susequent scenes in and around the hospital, it looks modern, clean and high-class. Basically, the healthcare costs there will be high. I wonder if the National Health Insurance Scheme would suffice for costs there. In the era, where countless government personalities have to fly abroad to get excellent medical care, it's refreshing to know about institutions like Lister Hospital, however small they are. There should be more Listers and the public health system should catch up with the needed state investment.

How many world-class hospitals are in Ghana? Last time, this issue came up, someone said there was one; the Trust Hospital. I have never been there before, and haven't known of any friends/family who had treatment over there. Nyaho Medical Centre is also highly regarded, as well as the Ridge Hospital to some extent. Is Dr. Edward Mahama's hospital great? What about Dr. Edmund Delle? Does he even have his own private clinic? With the growing middle-class, it should be prudent to operate more and more private clinics where people have the bang to buck. Or a buck for every bang suffered. You get the point.

The Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital are still the biggest healthcare centers in Ghana. Every Asumasi and Naa Korkor goes there when they fall ill, but do they have the adequate resources and personnel to cater to all of Ghana's health needs? The Cardiothoracic center has been a revelation and Dr. Frimpong-Boateng's brain child is becoming a valuable asset for Ghana. Baah-Wiredu still had to fly to South Africa and these hospitals are bypassed for those in the UK. We should check the medical records. Does J.A.Kuffour have a hospital card at Korle-Bu? Or 37 Military Hospital? While we try to keep our doctors in the country, we must also improve existing facilities to encourage them in their work, keep up-to-date with emerging technologies and keep the medical dollars and pounds in the country.

The Kuffour clinic in Kumasi has been around for awhile, and though I've never been there, it's supposed to be a great clinic. Whatever that means. The various regional hospitals have also seen upgrades which make them respectable - Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, and the Sunyani and Tamale regional hospitals. The conditions in other hospitals are nothing to write home about really. Or maybe we should ask the medical professionals in Ghana who have to do their service over there.

I saw Lister Hospital in a movie but imagine if we had some ER, House, Grey's Anatomy type series in Ghana? What hospitals will we use? We'll definitely have the stories and scripts to boot. Imagine how long it takes for ambulances to arrive at accident scenes and transport injured people back to hospitals. That alone can define a television series. I know we could definitely build a series with the central character being the local nurse at my high school Presec. This lady was an 'injector'. Her remedy for every ailment was a chloroquine injection. One of the biggest disappointments at school was to be told to go to the Presec clinic when you were seeking permission to go to a hospital off-campus. Thank heavens, I didn't have to suffer that fate. When I had malaria, our dear Mrs. Akyeampong made sure I was rushed to the Legon hospital. The folks there treated me well. Malaria does not. We have to do more about Malaria. Buying mosquito nets is far from the solution. Why bait the mosquitoes to war?

A Nigerian family is spearheading efforts to build a world-class hospital in Nigeria. The GEANCO foundation is behind the fundraising and planning efforts for Augustine Memorial in Anambra State, which other than being a hospital, plans to train medical professionals in the latest healthcare practices. It's a great initiative and you should support them. The same can be done in Ghana, I know Dr. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, is working on a first-rate Sickle Cell Center in Ghana. The Noguchi Memorial Institute is another much-publicized institution that is doing some great work. Our many medical personnel abroad can also band together in similar initiatives.

I'll like to learn about more efforts like these and other first-rate clinics or hospitals in Ghana. There have been too many times where a Ghanaian student had malaria at an American university and the local medical folk had no idea what had happened or was happening to Koo Darkie or Adwoa Mansa. Some medical problems are African first and foremost and we must concentrate on those and be the ones at the forefront of those medical technologies needed to curb them.

Before I sign off, let me make a special shout-out to my Odadee friends at MPEDIGREE. They are doing big things, winning international awards and showing that young, brilliant people can make differences. Mpedigree fights counterfeit drugs using mobile (GSM) technology. Check them out at their website.
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