Striving Only For Better Remunerations?

There are times of seasonal rituals, when workers, especially those on government pay-rolls, go on strikes and demonstrations for better remunerations. The employer is held at ransom with demands from the employees – demands that can sometimes be said to be too high and too impossible to be met.

The unions will get busy during these times and make revolutionary speeches amidst wearing of red bands to signify that the end times are near, unless the employer got responsible enough and showed some generosity.

Hardly do we hear of workers demanding better output from their end in order to achieve good results for whatever institution they belong to.

It is not unusual for workers to report to work late and leave earlier than the official stipulated time. The excuses, even though ridiculous, are usually based on these two statements: “I did not get a vehicle on time” and “If I do not leave earlier, I will not get a vehicle to arrive home early.”

It is quite obvious here that home is more important than work, and the worker is ready to steal the employer’s time to attend to domestic chores and private work.

Talking about stealing time, we have to go deep into history and recall how prominent government projects failed because of stealing of time by workers. And in this case, it included both abstract and physical stealing.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah established the state farms in order to boost food production, and by socialist standards, government kept pumping in resources just to make them work. The worker had other ideas. He would report to the farm, clock in as having reported to work, pick up farming equipment and inputs, and head off to his own farm, where he will spend most of the day, doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing on the state farm from which he receives his monthly remunerations.

And woe betides government if that pay-check failed to come on time. This is a brief description of how business is conducted in government and semi-government institutions. It is most likely that some workers run private businesses of which they focus more on, than to the work that the tax payer is paying them to do.

It is very likely to find workers not attentive to their jobs and create a bad rift in customer relationships. However, in their private practices, they turn on the charm to draw more customers and with that more revenue.

Today, I will focus my opinion on health delivery, in view of the fact that I am still in mourning over the demise of my beautiful niece, Verma Marie Annan.

Verma should have been alive today, but for gross negligence on the part of two state medical facilities – Bob Freeman and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Verma was not born immune from malaria, which she suffered from once in a while during her twenty-three years of short stay on this side of life. She had that G6PD deficiency, which could be triggered when administered anti-malarial drugs. This did not show until that fatal day in early November, when she was given an injection of a powerful dosage of an anti-malarial drug and told to immediately go on another very powerful drug, Coatem, to cure the disease fast.

Why is it that a medical facility of the SIC (State Insurance Company) could not do the right thing by checking also for other deficiencies in Verma’s blood stream that will not accept just any form of anti-malarial treatments? And where in this world would one be given an anti-malarial injection and asked to go on anti-malarial tabs almost immediately? Only Bob Freeman can answer this.

The irresponsibility of this medical facility showed when Verma had to visit them again on Monday, November 7, 2016. When the nurses saw what the clinic had done, they faked a story that there was no doctor available. They did not even attend to the dame to administer some form of medical aid until the doctors arrived.

So at the C n J Medical Facility in Adabraka, a purely professional job was done, and the cause of Verma’s ailment diagnosed. Decision: It was a matter for Korle Bu, and meanwhile, she would need blood immediately.

Blood was quickly made available by her sister, and it was waiting for her at Korle Bu before she arrived by ambulance at the Emergency Center. It was quite obvious that something was amiss, because, for a case involving the twenty-three year old patient whose blood count was 5 point something, the immediate attention should be blood transfusion or events leading to that. Or immediate measures should be taken to reduce the rate of destruction of the red blood cells.

Nothing seemed urgent in the emergency ward, which is very astonishing, because the simple definition of the word emergency means a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or environment. Most emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent the worsening of the situation.

And obviously, whatever sends a patient to an emergency ward should require urgent intervention, but sadly, in the case Verma, nothing was done to suggest any need of urgent intervention within the first three hours of her arrival. With the word emergency originating from the Medieval Latin word emergentia, which means “arise, bring to light,” none of the medical staff at the ward seemed eager to arise and bring to light measures to arrest the health condition of Verma.

From the way the staff reacted, and including fact the way the doctor on duty that evening became inexplicably angry when he was prompted to attend to Verma, one could, but suggest that everyone there want to close and go to attend to some private business.

And private business is perhaps to work in private hospitals and clinics where the pay was sure to be better.

Next year, we are most likely to see our medical practitioners in government and para-government health facilities laying down their tools in demand for better working conditions of service and remunerations. It would surely be an emergency situation for them, which would demand urgent intervention.

Meanwhile, as they strive for all these, how many people have they assisted in dispatching to the life hereafter by failing to halt avoidable deaths?

Verma Marie Annan is gone, and she was not the first, and sadly, she may not be the last to be callously dispatched to her grave by people called by God to heal the sick. The Bob Freeman Clinic and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital need our prayers. The Ghana Medical Association, Ghana Medical and Dental Council, and Ghana Health Services must take up the Verma story, if lives are to be saved.