A 47-year-old Ghanaian national, John Owusu, is currently being detained at the National Referral Hospital of the Central American Republic of Belize. He was admitted at the hospital on April 26, 2010 when the condition of his left foot, which got swollen as a result of diabetes, was degenerating from bad to worse.
Since then, his medical bills, which he is unable to pay, keep rising as the days go by; and his benefactor, another Ghanaian, Freddy Mansu who happens to work at the same facility as a Senior Radiographer, is becoming frustrated by the cost he is incurring each day.
This is partly because the Ghana Mission in Washington, which has oversight responsibility over Ghanaian nationals Belize, has not responded to any of the correspondences Mansu sent to them so they come to the rescue of the patient, and if possible make arrangements for John Owusu, who is believed to be a native of Effian, a village in the Western region, to be brought back home to Ghana.
Though Owusu has been dully discharged from the hospital, Mr. Mansu narrated that he is still languishing at the hospital since he does not have a place to live as the apartment in which he used to live has been rented out due to his inability to pay.
Meanwhile, he is expected to pay an amount of US $25.00 each day that Owusu spends at the hospital.
He said he was considering the option of renting a place for Owusu to go and stay with some people but then he appears to be growing feeble as the Ghanaian authorities on whom he banked his hopes on to help him to fly the victim back home have developed cold feet.
As of the last week, Mr. Mansu said he had expended almost US $3,000 on Owusu’s medical bills, including the cost for the surgery, medication, stay and laboratory test.
Mr. Mansu narrated that he was in Ghana on holidays when he received a call that a Ghanaian had been brought to the hospital where he works and that though he was in a critical condition, he did not have the needed resources to cater for his bills.
Obviously touched by the plight of a fellow countryman, Mansu said he could not but order for him to be admitted and agreed to bear the cost on humanitarian grounds since “on arrival at the hospital, they realized that he had a gangrain left foot which had infested up to the knee and the best they could do was to amputate the left leg above the knee.”
Apart from that, he said, Owusu also had an abscess in the left hand which needed to be drained and an incision performed.
Initially, Mansu said he made several calls to the Ghanaian Mission in Washington, pleading for assistance on the victim’s behalf and was later asked to write and send a formal letter which he obliged and attached pictures of Owusu on his hospital bed to it, using an express mailing service with a tracking number to confirm receipt but said since then, “nothing more has been heard from them.”
Back home in Ghana, DAILY GUIDE has been following Foreign Affairs Minister Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni to see how best the issue can be resolved but two weeks down the line, nothing productive and encouraging seem to be coming out.
Initially, he asked for time to establish contact with his officials (Consular) at Washington but later said he could not get them and that he should be given ample time to follow up and see how best he can help the situation.
He has however refused to pick his calls ever since; and when he occasionally picks the calls, he claims to be in a meeting and promises to call back but to no avail, and sometimes, he fails to answer the phone.
It is therefore not clear whether the Ghanaian authorities are ready to go to the rescue of this single Ghanaian among a number of other unheard and unknown Ghanaians who may be going through similar ordeals elsewhere.
John Owusu is said to have left the shores of Ghana some 15years ago to neighbouring Nigeria and then to Libya.
He was later said to have left for Egypt, through to Lebanon and to Cuba and finally settled in Belize three years ago, all in search of greener pastures.
In Belize, he worked with a security company until he was diagnosed of diabetes which eventually led to the amputation of his left leg.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu