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Save our Hospitals

At the start of the week, government made such a big deal of a simple ceremony to present four patient monitors to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. They made sure that every media organisation that matters in this country was present to cover the event to send out the message to Ghanaians.

The message went far. Some might have been impressed. I wasn’t.

In fact, the whole thing really filled me with a great deal of annoyance.The four patient monitors cost about $45,000. That’s less than the price of the Ford SUV I have seen Koku Anyidoho, the president’s spokesman, drive in. I have seen several other government officials luxuriating in V8 Toyota Land Cruisers that cost almost $70,000 each.

Government can buy dozens (sometimes hundreds) of these gas-guzzling SUVs at a go and supply them to all sorts of people – from chief executives of state-run corporations to presidential aides to district chief executives. Yet when it comes to equipping our hospitals, all government can do is buy four patient monitors – just four – for the most important health facility in the country.

If government can buy 230 SUVs at once for DCEs to drive in, I get so annoyed to the point where I feel actual physical pain in my heart, when I hear that when it comes to patient monitors government can only afford four for Korle Bu. The money spent on one Land Cruiser can buy at least 10 of these monitors. So why can’t government buy these basic but cheap equipments in their thousands, one for practically every other hospital bed in the country?

The answer is simple: our leaders are mostly a bunch of selfish idiots.

It’s not just our current crop of leaders. Most of our leaders since independence have been nothing but a bunch of selfish, wicked nitwits who will choose to buy luxury cars over basic hospital equipment. To add insult to injury, they give themselves golden handshakes in the form of ex-gratia when they are leaving office – whiles our hospitals lie in near-ruins; places of comfort turned into death traps.

Our leaders just don’t care about the people who elected them to the positions that give them the perks they enjoy with so much gusto. All they care about is their luxury and comfort. The rest of us can go to hell. They don’t care about our hospitals because they know that when they fall sick, they can dip their hands into the national coffers and get aboard the next available flight to get treatment in Johannesburg or London or New York.

Those of us who can’t afford treatment abroad should die like flies on the floors of ill-equipped hospitals as underpaid, frustrated doctors look on so helplessly.

As I write this the Police Hospital is calling for an intensive care unit, a mother in Dodowa is grieving over the death of her premature triplets because the incubators at Ridge Hospital are all broken down, officials at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital do not understand why they have never had a proper accident unit since the hospital was built decades ago. That’s not all. There isn’t a single public hospital in this country with a functioning MRI or ultra scan machines, I am hearing a doctor at Komfo Anokye questioning why a project that started 37 years ago is nowhere near completion. The usual answer that our leaders spew out is that “we don’t have money.” Nonsense! We don’t have money to buy incubators and ambulances but we can afford luxury SUVs, executive jets and ex-gratia?

Whatever did we do to deserve these wicked, heartless nincompoops as leaders? I shake my head in sadness because I don’t know. All I know is that with these people we have money to spend on all the things we don’t need but we don’t have money to spend on the things we really need. This fills me with deep sadness and intense anger and the two emotions make my heart bleed every day and I pray I never fall sick or get injured in an accident. But I guess the most important prayer must be for the nitwits who lead us to be granted the wisdom and fellow-feeling to help them come to the realisation that we need sound Ghanaian minds and bodies to build this nation; it doesn’t make sense for them to buy Land Cruisers and jets only to turn around to tell us we can’t afford the things that will help us live and enjoy good health.

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