The Ho Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr. Atsu Seake-Kwawu has emphasized the need for more genuine private hospitals to increase access to quality health care in Ghana.
According to him, such increase will reduce pressure on the existing inadequate government hospitals and also create jobs for the increasing unemployed youth. He was however quick to add that such facilities should go through the required procedure before starting operations.
He noted that ?when we have more recognized private health facilities it will reduce the pressure on the government ones and also increase access to quality health care.?
Dr. Seake-Kwawu made the observation recently when he spoke to Daily Guide at the sidelines of the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Miracle Life Hospital (MLH), a private hospital in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital. The Hospital started as a clinic in December 1994 by Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa and his wife who was by then a nurse, Victoria Letsa.
The Hospital is a subsidiary of the newly branded AVL Holdings Ghana Limited, Managers of the Stadium Gate Supermarket and the plush Sky Plus Hotel in Ho among other businesses. As part of the celebrations, free child care clinic and free health screening was conducted as well as mass National Health Insurance registration and renewal.
The Municipal Health Director commended the Hospital for being a pacesetter in the Region and stimulating healthy competition. He said that MLH serves over a 100 patients daily and hoped that the facility will expand and implement new initiatives to increase clientele.
Dr. Seake-Kwawu who recounted how his 20 year old daughter was cared for in the early stages of the hospital, urged all other health facilities in the region to emulate the excellent conduct of Miracle Life.
He warned facilities that were not recognized and those not following best practices to register appropriately or halt operations respectively before the Directorate clamps down on them.
Managing Director of MLH, Dr. Letsa mentioned inability of clients to pay their bills leading to bad debts and frustration of clients by referral centers as major challenges in the teething stages of the hospital.
He was quick to add that since the inception of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2005 the situation began to improve despite the challenges being faced by the scheme. He also mentioned that the referral facilities are now receptive and more supportive.
Volta Lack Specialist Doctors
He also bemoaned the lack of specialist in the region, which he said was having a negative toll on health care delivery and the medical practice in the region. He mentioned that the region has been without an Ophthalmologist for the past five years. Other specialists lacking include, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Internal Medicine; physician specialist among others.
He said the situation usually frustrates patients and doctors as well. He said as a general practice hospital, the existence of such specialists helps in further learning and feedback. He lamented that ?After 31 years of practice I don?t expect a houseman (intern) to handle referrals, but that is our only choice for now.?
Future of Miracle Life Hospital.
Dr. Letsa disclosed that MLH hopes to become a private specialist hospital that will solve the lack of specialist problem in the region. He said the hospital which currently has 46 staff including two permanent and two part-time doctors have acquired a bigger land to build a hospital with all the necessary specialized departments to meet the peculiar needs of their clients.
He said providing health care and employment to the region is the passion of Miracle Life Hospital which was adjudged the 2013, best private hospital in the region.
Frederick Duodu Takyi
Journalist at Daily Guide, Ghana