Opinions Thu, 18 Aug 2022

Mahama's 'onuador' mobile clinic idea was prescient

The hallmark of every great leader is to live beyond time and be able to predict the future in order to make the right interventions.

For instance, Nkrumah, our first president, accurately predicted how European former colonisers would manipulate newly independent countries through disadvantageous aid and trade relations, and started working towards it.

That is exactly what African countries are experiencing after half a century of his ousting out of power. How we had wished he stayed a bit longer in power to achieve his dreams for Ghana and Africa!

And I am seeing some predictive traits of Nkrumah in H.E. John Mahama. But for his foresight of building medical facilities such as the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital and others, COVID-19 may have caused more havoc in our country than we witnessed.

He also saw the need to deploy mobile clinics and medical teams to reach people who are cut off from access to health services and this is the reason why he launched the National Medical Outreach Programme in 2015 which

involved the deployment of mobile medical vans known as "Onuador" a term in Twi that means brotherly or sisterly love.

In fact, "Onuador" could be termed as a "moving hospital" designed to handle emergencies such as epidemics, pandemics, wars, as well as treating isolated and vulnerable groups and newly displaced populations. It has the capacity to handle health services in dental care, eye and ophthalmic care, mammography, audiology assessments, general medicine, etc.

Interestingly and bizarrely, "Onuador" medical outreach vans have been parked and are rotting away since it was launched. At a press conference on Tuesday, 28 January 2020, the Minority group in the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana appealed to the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia-led government to use them for the purpose for which they were procured.

Nevertheless, President Dramani Mahama has plans to deploy "Onuador" and also build ‘Onipa Nua’ Hospital Ship that can provide mobile healthcare services to remote and deprived communities in riverine areas across the country if elected in 2024.
Columnist: Anthony Obeng Afrane
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