Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Public Health System is Collapsing-Frimpong Boateng

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCTC), on Monday expressed concern about the collapsing public health delivery system in Ghana and called for measures to arrest the factors contributing to the decay."There will be nothing to write home about 10 years to come if the problems were not corrected", he said.Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the major contributing factor out of the several others that fed into the malaise was the attitude of health workers majority of whom showed little commitment to the growth and development of public institutions."If we should see public properties as our own and handle them they way we deem fit, then Ghana would be making headway". Speaking at the launch of the Centre's 20th anniversary in Accra Prof Frimpong Boateng said health workers did not see the public property in which they worked as theirs and therefore did not handle them with care.The Heart Surgeon said the NCTC had set a high standard in health institution construction and maintenance, departmental organisation as well as training and management of hospital personnel, which needed to be investigated by the Ministry of Health for emulation. He explained that the Centre had been conceptualized in such a way that it had the capacity to function independent of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital."It is for this reason that the Centre has never been affected by a strike action before and it has also not been involved in any strike action".The Centre, established in 1989 with the mandate of treating cardiothoracic diseases in the sub-region, had become an effective team player in the hospital by providing quality patient care, teaching and conducting research.The Centre, which Prof. Frimpong Boateng described as a model, was a small fraction of the health delivery system which could not provide all the answers to the many diseases plaguing the health system. "As a model, a close study about the reasons for its success will at least give clues as to what must be inputted to crank up the health system", he added.Twenty years down the lane, the Centre which began with a single crusader and a few supporting staff, now has the staff strength of over 130 with each person assigned a responsibility and giving the Centre a strong sense of ownership with facilities not being allowed to fall into disrepair.The Centre described as the Centre of Excellence, has grown into a mini-hospital complex, complete and serves the West African sub-region. Prof. Frimpong Boateng said Ghanaian medical personnel needed to realize that they had the capacity to establish symbols of medical excellence without depending on others and not associating themselves with programmes where foreign teams would come for brief periods, perform surgeries with a lot of fanfare and leave the country for local personnel to handle possible complications.He advised that in Africa where generally technology was not advanced, one should not compromise with standards but establish confidence in the Ghanaian population.Activities for the anniversary include public lectures, medical screening outreach programmes and a Thanksgiving service.

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