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Monday, May 22, 2006

Editorial

THE HEALTH MINISTER'S CONCERNS

Monday, 22 May 2006
No one can deny that the work of health professionals is tedious, time consuming and exacting. This is especially so when the hospital is inundated when accident victims need emergency services.

But it is unacceptable when people seeking emergency medical care are made to suffer more or put at risk because of the insistence of a health official that they must go through the normal process of accepting patients.

In such cases, something needs to be done and done quickly to save the lives of those who need prompt attention.

As the Minister of Health said at Abokobi on Wednesday, it is a sad commentary that today, patients suffer unduly because of the insistence on going through the normal process of accepting patients even in emergency cases.

Major Courage Quashigah (rtd) addressing the 38th Annual General Conference of the Christian Health Association of Ghana also wondered in the light of great significance of the solemn oaths and pledges how health professionals could look in the eye of a patient in agonizing pain and lay down their tools for material reward. No doubt this is a reference to industrial actions by health professionals.

There have been a lot of complaints by both relatives and patients who go to some of the public hospitals over the sort of treatment given them by nurses and other health staff. It seems the complaints have yielded no dividends.

These complaints and reports have not only been found in newspapers, but from important discussions on Radio and Television of late.

The point is, people who go to hospital, need to be treated humanely hence the hue and cry about the attitude of some nurses, lab technicians and other health workers.

It is good that the Minister of Health is drawing attention to some of the lapses inherent in the health delivery system and which need to be addressed without delay.

Certainly, there is much which the Minister and his officials have to do to ensure that cases requiring emergency attention are not delayed unduly, while the patient suffers for want of prompt attention.

In our view, hospital administrations which we believe have knowledge about the unfortunate attitude of some of their staff seem to have done little or nothing about the complaints.

And it is for this reason that we ask whether the hospitals have no mechanism to check what is being complained of. If the answer is no, what are the administrations doing? What about the Ministry of Health itself, have the authorities any plan to deal with the sad situation?

We refer to the statement made by the president of the Ghana Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventist, Pastor Samuel A. Larmie. He pointed out that the Christian Health Association of Ghana workers should strive to treat all equally and never allow racial barrier, societal status, religious affiliations or colour to serve as blocks preventing them from discharging honest labour to the people. This is very important and ought to be treated with all seriousness.

By discussing the problem publicly, the Minister of Health has taken a good step forward. We trust that his office will take the necessary measures to address the concerns the Minister himself has identified.

Value Patients' Lives - Quarshigah

By Stephen Effah, Abokobi


Monday, 22 May 2006

A PATIENT’S life is more important than procedures and
formalities, says the Minister of Health, Major Courage
Quarshigah (rtd).

Major Quarshigh said: “It is a sad commentary that today, we see patients suffering unduly because of our insistence on going through the normal process of accepting patients even in emergency cases.”

In a speech at the 38th annual general conference of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) at Abokobi on Wednesday, he asked: “How could a health professional look in the eye of an agonizing patient and lay down his or her tool for material rewards?”

CHAG is an umbrella organization that co-ordinates the activities of Christian health institutions and the health programmes of Christian churches.

The conference was on the theme: “Witnessing Christ in the healing ministry.”

“Physicians and other health professionals are ethically bound to place the medical needs of their patients before their own financial interests”, he said, adding that it behoves health professionals to share their knowledge with others.

“Do we, as highly trained health professionals, teach our patients the secrets of good health including nutrition, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation?”

He urged the CHAG to “show a veritable example of evidence of Christ” in their healing ministry for others to emulate.

The President of Ghana Medical Association, Dr Francis Adu-Ababio, said that health care delivery in the country is facing serious challenges.

“As a nation, we are constrained by limited financial and human resources to confront the HIV/AIDS menace and malaria.

The president of the Ghana Union Conference of SDA, Pastor Samuel A.Larmie, said that the medical ministry should be used to break barriers and difficult grounds in order to spread the gospel of God, adding “Where in the past we have found difficult to enter, health should act as an entering wedge to bring about difference”.

He asked CHAG members to see themselves as a team of evangelist for God. “We should strive to treat all equal. Never should we allow racial barrier, societal status, religious affiliations or colour to serve as blocks preventing us from discharging honest labour to our people.”

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Science Students To Enjoy Incentives

From: StephenKwabena Effah, Kasoa
Monday, 12 December 2005

SPECIAL incentives will be offered to science students in the country’s tertiary institutions from next year, Education Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo has announced.

The move, he said, is to encourage more students to pursue courses in science which is perceived as a difficult subject.

When contacted by the Times, Mr Osafo-Maafo declined to elaborate on the incentives, saying "we will reveal (the details) in January."

Speaking at the first graduation and commissioning of the West End International school here at the weekend, he said the nation could not afford to take education, especially science education, for granted because it plays a vital role in development.

He recalled that in 1959, Ghana and South Korea had the same per capita income but stated that "South Korea is now far ahead of Ghana.

He stressed the need for the nation to place premium on science and quality education which is a prerequisite for accelerated growth and development.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the ministry was concerned about the quality of teachers coming out of the training colleges in the country and had decided to provide first class libraries and computer laboratories to help them in their training.

He said "much as government appreciates the efforts of private schools to provide education for all of school-going age, profit motivation should not be the main focus of their operation."

He observed that people sent their wards to private schools because they offer quality education and stated that the government was ready to help public schools compete with private schools by creating an enabling environment in all educational institutions to sustain effective teaching and learning in schools.

Health Students Offer Service To Orphanage

From: Stephen Kwabena Effah, Bawjiase
Monday, 01 May 2006

THE University of Ghana Allied Health Students’ Association on Thursday undertook a free medical screening exercise for the inmates, management and staff of Countryside Orphanage at Bawjiase Orphanage in the Central Region.

They also donated food and medicines to the home.

The screening formed part of the activities of the association’s third annual Health Week celebration on the theme, ‘Diagnosis and management of hypertension and cancer – The role of the Allied Health Professional.

About 220 inmates, including the management staff and student interns from Nyaniba Health Care at Tema, were examined for their blood groupings, urine blood pressure, body mass index and breast cancer.

The president of the association, Yahans Kojo De-Heer, said the association decided to reach out to the inmates as they had apparently not enjoyed much support and assistance as other orphanages in Accra.

He described the screening exercise as very successful in terms of the high patronage.
The choice of the theme for the celebration, he explained, was influenced by the increase in hypertension and cancer cases in the country over the last three years.

The rise, he noted, had become common, especially among the youth because of the lack of physical exercises, bad diet, smoking and other, bad habits.

He expressed concern about the lack of educational materials on hypertension and cancer at the health units and said intensive public education would help reduce the incidence of the diseases.

The founder of the orphanage, Emma Boafo Yeboah, commended the students for considering the plight of the inmates but lamented that the running of the orphanage had become difficult as it received little public support.

She said although the orphanage had a primary school, paying its teachers had become a burden and therefore appealed to the Ministry of Education and Sports to support it with teachers.
Ms Yeboah cautioned those who use orphanages to solicit for funds to desist the act.

Traders Rush For Space At Kasoa Market

By Stephen Effah, Kasoa
Saturday, 04 March 2006


THERE is now a rush for space at the New Kasoa Market following the demolition of the old market on Tuesday by the Awutu-Efutu-Senya District Assembly.

When the Times visited Kasoa yesterday, some traders were preparing places to display their wares while others had brought in their containers. Those who had already acquired sheds had displayed their goods for sale.

Traders already at the new market expressed delight that their colleagues from the old market were acquiring spaces at the new place.

However, they said there could be confusion as some of the new traders had come to occupy places already acquired by others.

Some traders who spoke to the Times lauded the demolition exercise and urged all traders to come to the new market.

One trader, Elizabeth Amanyo, observed that although sales had not picked up as much as anticipated after the demolition she was hopeful things would normalize soon.

She called for more warehouses in the new market to enable all the traders to convey their goods to and from the market each day.

Akua Serwaa Mansah said that because of the high transport fares some buyers were not coming to the new market to shop.

She also called on the district assembly authorities to ensure that traders coming to the new market do not occupy places that have been already acquired.

A member of the Odupong Kpehe Urban Council, .Samuel Sasu, explained that all the new traders were being given temporary places at no cost to sell their goods while a new area is being prepared for them.

He therefore assured every trader who may come to the new market of a place.

He said that so far there has not been any official complaint of traders occupying sheds that had been acquired by other people and advised the traders to report any incident that may bring confusion to the council.

He said he was hopeful that by next week all the traders from the old market would have come to the new market.

Meanwhile, people were still sifting through the rubble at the old market site for undestroyed goods at the time the Times team got there.

Metal scraps dealers were also cutting metal products from the demolished shops while other people were removing building blocks and roofing sheets that were not destroyed.

There was a heavy police presence although everything seemed calm.

Fares Up By 2.7 %

By: Stephen Kwabena Effah
Thursday, 04 May 2006

THE Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC) has announced new fares in view of yesterday’s review in the prices of petroleum products.Figures made available to the Times show a 2.7 per cent increase in transport fares.

The price of petrol has gone up by 10 per cent.
Under the new fare regime, intra-city routes that were charging ў1,500 are now supposed to charge ¢1,540.

Mr Kojo Moses, chairman of the GRTCC, explained to the Times that fuel forms only 26 per cent of the operational cost build up in the transport sector, and added that 10 per cent increment in fuel prices should result in a 2.7 per cent increase.

The Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council is the apex body of commercial road transport operators and comprises 18 transport unions and organizations.

Meanwhile, a team from the National Petroleum Authority, the Association of Oil Marketing Companies and the Chairman of the GRTCC, Mr Moses, toured some fuel stations in Accra to monitor the level of fuel price increases.

During the tour, it came out that the various oil companies where charging varying prices for petroleum products, which observers say, is an indication of competitive pricing among the Oil Marketing Companies.

This is the first time that Oil Marketing Companies have been given the opportunity to fix their own prices within margins determined by the NPA. This forms part of the gradual deregulation of the petroleum industry.

At the time of the visit, Total filling stations were selling a galloon of petrol at ¢38,3226.50, diesel ¢35,055 and kerosene ¢28,672.50.

At Shell filling stations, petrol was selling at ¢38,214, diesel, ¢34,600, while Mobil Stations had petrol at ў38,304, and diesel at ¢34,690.50.

Glory Oil filling stations visited were also selling a gallon of petrol for ¢38,326.50, and diesel ¢34,708.50.

The co-ordinator of Oil Marketing Companies, Kwame Antwi-Agyei, described as appropriate, the opportunity for the oil companies to fix their own prices, which should not exceed the prices fixed by the NPA.

He said “this is appropriate and effective for the economy and the consumers,” adding that that would ensure competition within the oil industry.
T
he Technical Director of the NPA, Isaac Tagoe, said that since the system is a new one, there may be teething problems which would be resolve in a short time.

He observed that almost all the filling stations visited had not displayed the new petroleum prices on their bill boards as required, stressing that the NPA will ensure the right things were done.

Meanwhile, the NPA has warned that oil companies that fail to display prices on billboards would attract the appropriate sanctions.

A release jointly signed by the chairman of NPA, Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah and the Chief Executive, J.D. Attafuah, said that the move is to ensure that there is no confusion between consumers and retailers.

It said the authority will henceforth determine the ex-refinery and the ex-pump prices applicable to the various petroleum products in accordance with the Customs and Excise Act 685 of 2005 and publish the maximum indicative ex-pump prices of petroleum products for the domestic market.

The release said that the authority will continue to monitor closely this phase of the deregulation exercise in line with its mandate to ensure that any immediate problems that may arise are resolved quickly.

It advised the consuming public to ensure that pump prices displayed at the various filing stations are exactly what they pay for, and that the prices are not higher than the maximum indicative prices published in the gazette.