Crisis At Wassa – Over Resident Doctor’s Ejection From Bungalow
Crisis At Wassa – Over Resident Doctor’s Ejection From Bungalow Website
The ejection of the resident doctor of the Prestea Hospital from his bungalow has created a serious crisis for health delivery in the Wassa West District of the Western Region. Since the ejection of the doctor which is said to be the property of the defunct State Gold Mining Corporation (SGMC), last December, six pregnant women are said to have died from complications on their way to hostpitals in Tarkwa where they had been referred as a result of the absence of a doctor at Prestea. Hospital officials on duty confirmed the referrals to other hospitals in Tarkwa but added that although they had heard that some pregnant women had died on their way to Tarkwa, they could not confirm that because the deaths did not occur at the hospital. A spokesman for the Prestea Hospital said, "We did well to refer them to where they could be safe and since they did not die at this hospital we do not have any records of them. Besides, in the absence of a doctor, there is no one here who can sign a death certificate.” The source explained that most of the pregnant women who went to the hospital reported with very critical cases and therefore, they had to be transferred elsewhere. He said the death toll could be high because people in the villages and communities far from the town were not aware of the problem at the hospital and made long journeys to the hospital with serious cases, only to be told that the doctor was no longer at post. The doctor was evicted by officials who said they had an order from a court in 2005 to evict occupants of about 102 houses belonging to the defunct corporation. Some residents of the town who took reporters around the hospital called for something urgent to be done about accommodation for a res¬ident doctor. They said the sense of duty of the evicted doctor was commendable and pleaded with SGMC officials to sus¬pend the enforcement of the court order which was issued in 2005. An opinion leader in the town said it would be difficult to get another doctor anytime soon, asking, "I am aware that even the regional and other district hospitals and health posts are also crying for a substan¬tive doctor. Therefore, if we had one and we allowed him to go in that painful manner, which doctor would like to come here again?" "If the SGMC is state owned and the doctor is also working in this deprived community for a govern¬ment institution, why should he be ejected when he is working for the same Ghana?" he asked. Tarkwa is about 37 kilometres from Prestea and the•death of the women, some of whom had travelled from surrounding villages, was attributed their inability to arrive early at Tarkwa, which is linked to Prestea by one of the poorest road networks in the country. The transferred women were described as first-time expectant mothers who had developed some complications. Hospital workers at Prestea have predicted more fatalities, since the hospital, the only facility which serves the 38 communities in the area is still without a doctor. When reporters visited the house from which the doctor was evicted, there were people living there, while some of the buildings, were also empty. The out-patient department of the hospital is in the open, while the records and other offices are housed in a kiosk and when it rains patients have to walk through it to see the doctor. With the absence of a doctor, the matron and ward master are the two key persons manning the place, with the district medical director visiting them once a week.