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Can an American Nurse know better than a Ghanaian Doctor?
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Can an American Nurse know better than a Ghanaian Doctor?

Tue, 15 Jun 2010 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

Friends, one hates to share certain personal information in public but sometimes if we don’t share, how do we learn in our society? I shared this on our Forum and will share it here (slightly edited).

Ghanaians are a very proud people. I believe that all humans have to have a sense of pride in their country. However, we have to look in the mirror sometimes and ask ourselves the hard questions why we are not doing as well as others in south East Asia who got their independence from Britain around the same time or later. Some are less endowed with minerals and we have had the same or even better education.


I have a serious question on my mind and want your responses: Do you think an American Nurse with experience is better or more knowledgeable than a Ghanaian Doctor? We all go to school and Universities to learn the basics, but experience in the profession or life is what makes us apply the knowledge and become useful to society. Help me out here!


Folks, let us all spread the word around that the disgrace of our country Ghana by selfish and greedy leaders is enough! It is unfortunate the President of Ghana, President Mills, thinks most of the Ghanaians overseas are engaged in “unskilled labor”. What a wrong mindset! Some people in government services will feel offended if you suggested some new idea to them. However, they cannot get water to run in the hospitals!! Come oooon!!


I personally sent our new President a well documented recommendation on how to solve certain socio-economic and technical problems Ghana has been dealing with for years without success. There was absolutely no response even though I have confirmation the office received the letter. Why then can these leaders not maintain the hospitals that were bequeathed to the nation by the first government of Ghana in the 1960s! Why?? Is water, sanitation, electricity and roads so complicated and hard to deliver to taxpayers despite the 45% to 200% duties and taxes imposed on the people of Ghana!!


Folks, let me share this. For more than a week my 84 year old mother has been admitted to the 37 Military hospital in Accra, a hospital some of us even thought was an elite hospital compared to the largest hospital in Accra (Korle Bu). For a mild stroke, she has paid for seven or eight different tests, X-Rays, CT Scans, blood tests, some of them having to be taken in a car across the other side of Accra to Korle Bu, and some private clinics. The total cost has been about Ghc1, 000, which is more than the yearly salary of the average Ghanaian. These had to be done before the Doctors could do any diagnosis, and well, finally able to see her and confirm it was a stroke. Yes, they have finally given her some medicine for blood thinning that most of us in America who are not even medical doctors would know is some kind of Aspirin. In the mean time she has not had a bowl movement for over a week and none of the doctors could recommend anything after several consultations. I have been told that nurses in Ghana hospitals are not responsible for taking patients to the bathroom and giving them a bath. They just administer medicines. Hmm! Okay.


Folks, simple educated common sense would predict that too much waste in the intestines without movement can create a totally different issue of infection and even blood poisoning. Yesterday I told my wife and I put my sister on the line. My wife, a nurse in America, by asking simple questions, was able to instruct my sister what medication to buy at the pharmacy stores and how to get my mother’s bowels moving. Yes, in Ghana, relatives have to administer medication in the hospital! This morning when my sister called from Ghana she was happy - my mother has been able to have a bowel movement and now eating. My mother could have died right there in 37 Military Hospital perhaps within a week, and the doctors and nurses could not care!

And by the way did any of you know that the toilets at 37 Military Hospital does not have water running! My sister and nephew had to carry bucketfuls of water to the hospital! Is this the Ghana of President Mills is praying about? I suggest he better pray deeper to find his God for Ghana! Ghana needs a leader to manage the Agency Directors! We need a President is concerned about problems in the society!


And by the way is this the Ghana President Kufuor left and felt so proud he purchased gold neck chains for $3.6 million and placed one around his neck for what he thought was a good job accomplishments?


Folks, with all due respect to my friends in Ghana’s medical profession, tell me, is it possible a nurse in America may be more knowledgeable than a medical Doctor and group of nurses in Ghana? Is it that they are young doctors without experience in Ghana and hence need to work under the supervision of experienced doctors?


What are the chances for the ordinary patient who may not have a team like my sister and nephews, with a vehicle and money to pay for the tests running into the C1, 000 range? Would the attitude of the Doctors and Nurses have anything to do with the poor pay they complain about in Ghana? Why would any man or woman choose to be in the health care profession if they are not interested in caring for patients or if their mind is not on the job to solve simple problems like these? Would paying these professionals even salaries like in America make a difference, then? I don’t know.


With such a service, is it the reason our Ministers and Presidents use the taxpayer money to travel overseas for medical care? Huh! If they know about this poor service, what have they done about it? Or it’s simply that people don’t care for other human beings in our society even if they are professionals being paid and sworn to uphold professional standards!!


Folks, I am not trying to be hard on medical doctors and nurses in Ghana. I know the patient load is high and they are tired and underpaid; but I am concerned with the quality of service and water shortage and unsanitary conditions! Some hospital administrators have to provide the management and such items as water and cleanliness should not be the duty of the nurses. We must not forget that in any society leadership is what directs such enterprises and provides needed financing and quality standards. Ghana has been collecting 2.5% levy on all goods and vehicles imported into Ghana. This will translate into more than $100 Million per year collected by the government towards health care – even if one assumes only a quarter of the nations reported GDP has the levy placed on it. Our Presidents and their Ministers mean to tell us that with hospital buildings already paid for, one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) per year is not enough to maintain first class care with modern equipment in every regional hospital and pay doctors and nurse well and manage them?! My Gosh! What kind of a people are we and what have we become!

Please anybody help me here to get an explanation!


What kind of human beings are we – despite half a century of independence and education!!?


Dr. Kwaku A. Danso


President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO) & Moderator-GLU Forum

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.