The fear of victimization by some health officers has been identified as a major reason why patients fail to report the substandard medical service rendered to them in many rural areas.
Mrs. Mariatu Seidu, a senior midwife based in Cape Coast said patients are scared they will be victimised later by health officials when they return to the hospital.
?The situation is so bad that patients prefer suffering in pain than getting their grievances resolved by the hospital administration?, Mrs Seidu stated at the first ever programme dubbed: ?Projecting Citizens Voices for Health Accountability?
The programme organised by Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) was funded by STAR-Ghana, to increase the influence of Community Support Organisations (CSOs) and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery within the health sector.
Dr. Francis Amissah, District Health Director of Juabaso, also a participant, corroborated the revelation; ?there is an erroneous impression that patients lives depend on the doctors and nurses so if they table any complaints, their lives will be made unbearable.?
He indicated that while fear prevents the people from going to the complaints desks, illiteracy is also a barrier to some of the folks as they are unable to write their complaints.
Mrs Dela Kokroko Gle, Programmes Manager ARHR, at the workshop explained that aside the CSOs, the project will involve the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the District Health Management Teams as well as the Department of Social Welfare.
The programme is also geared towards increasing the accountability and responsiveness of government, traditional authorities and private enterprises to Ghanaian citizens.
?We hope that when we do this, we can improve access to quality health services for all Ghanaians through greater accountability and responsiveness in health service delivery.
?We are determined to increase community involvement in health sector governance with an ombudsman mechanism at District Assemblies for reporting and feedback,? she added.
The project will be undertaken in two districts in the Central Region (KEEA and Agona East) and two others in the Western Region (Shama and Juaboso).
Evidence from women of reproductive age and youth groups at the grassroots level will be collected to inform strategies, resource deployment and decision making on the project.
Meanwhile a statement to the Ghana News Agency indicates that the project will contribute to the discussions on their experiences in handling customer complaints. It intimated that even though avenues for complaint redress have been created in forms such as complaints boxes and desks, the patients are apprehensive in openly expressing their views.
The statement said Mr Gilbert Germain, a participant and the Executive Director of Young & Lonely Foundation, a community based organisation (CBO) in Agona East registered his displeasure at the attitude of some health workers who are contributing to tarnishing the image of health personnel.
?Projecting Citizens Voices for Health Accountability? is fully funded by STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funding arrangement made up of EU, Danida, USAID and DFID.
The ARHR is a network of Ghanaian non-Governmental health organizations Health (NGOs) promoting a rights-based approach to sexual reproductive health.
It was established in 2004 and working to ensure the sexual reproductive health (SRH) rights of all people, especially vulnerable groups such as the poor, marginalized and women of reproductive age are protected and fulfilled, irrespective of socio economic status, gender or race.