Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has commended Vodafone Ghana Foundation for its “Homecoming” initiative, which has helped to decongest choked health facilities in the country.
The Homecoming initiative enables the Foundation to pay the medical bills of financially challenged and vulnerable patients at hospitals, who are not relieved to go back home after receiving healthcare due to their inability to pay their medical bills.
He said hospitals were congested as a result of patients owing medical bills and that made it difficult for the facility to admit new patients and offer them healthcare.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said this at the virtual launch of the ‘Middle Belt Homecoming Initiative’ in Accra to settle medical bills of patients in the Ashanti, Oti, Bono Ahafo, Bono East, and Western Regions.
Conditions of beneficiary patients included burns and scalds, caesarian sessions, snake bites, amputations, spinal surgeries, and glaucoma.
He commended Vodafone Ghana for not only settling the medical bills of needy patients but registering them onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and renewing the existing but expired cards of other patients and as well providing them with hand sanitizers and face masks to protect themselves of COVID-19.
“Vodafone Ghana has taken leadership in helping the government to control health problems in the country and this will make it easier for Government to promote universal health coverage in the country,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye encouraged the public to take advantage of the NHIS, especially in this period of COVID-19 to enable them to properly access healthcare.
Mr Amaris Nana Adjei Perbi, the Lead of Vodafone Ghana Foundation, explained that 106 patients were expected to be discharged in the middle bet regions.
A month ago, similar action was taken to discharge 98 patients in the Savannah, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.
A total of nine health institutions, he said, had been identified as beneficiaries in the middle belt initiative.
Mr Perbi noted that in the Ashanti Region, beneficiary hospitals were the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Kumasi South Regional Hospital, and in the Bono Region, beneficiary hospitals were the Sunyani Regional Hospital.
The Asunafo South District Hospital and Goasu Municipal Hospital in the Ahafo Region and the Holy Family Hospital in the Bono East Region would benefit from the initiative.
In the Oti Region, beneficiary hospitals were the Worawora Government Hospital and the Jasikan District Hospital, while the Western North Region had the Bibiani Government Hospital as the beneficiary facility.
Dr Mrs Irene Stella Agyenim- Boateng, a member of the Vodafone Ghana Foundation Board, said the middle belt initiative, was part of the activities outlined on the calendar of Vodafone Ghana Foundation to celebrate the ‘World Humanitarian Day’ which falls on August 19, of every year.
She said many looked forward to the homecoming initiative because many of the patients who were detained at hospitals were the breadwinners of their families and hence their absence was a great loss to their families.
The step, she said, would ease the burden on hospital finances and facilities.
Dr Isaac Secorm, the Deputy Director of Clinical Care, Worawora Government Hospital, thanked the Foundation for the support, adding that: “We have 93 percent of our clients on the NHIS, however, many of them have their cards expired, even though they need to undergo surgeries. So this will be or great help to us,” he said.
Professor Baffour Opoku, a Substantive Medical Director of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, said the hospital which has a 1,200-bed capacity, had listed almost 60 patients who needed financial support to reunite with their families.
The initiative, he said, would, therefore, help treated patients to go home and make way for new patients to access healthcare.
Dr Joel Afi Duah, the Medical Superintendent of the Asunafo South Government Hospital said due to the big challenge the facility faced in dealing with patients who were unable to pay their bills, the Hospital was training them in various vocational skills like detergent making to be able to generate funds to make their payments and cater for their families.
The support, by the Foundation, would, therefore, help the patients to revive their lives.