Public officials should be stopped from seeking medical care abroad – Okudzeto Ablakwa
Former Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called for a public policy that will ban government appointees and other public officials from going beyond the boundaries of Ghana to seek medical help.
From the late former President Jerry John Rawlings to Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the trend of public officials traveling to the USA, UK, France, and other Europe has been on the rise in the past three decades.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was the latest high-ranking public official to have followed this trend after traveling to the USA for “a special medical review”.
But according to the Member of Parliament for the North Tongu Constituency, public officials should be stopped from seeking medical care abroad in order to compel the government to fix the numerous challenges in Ghana’s healthcare system.
Hon Ablakwa made this statement while narrating a story of how a 12-year-old boy lost his life because of Ghana’s broken health system.
“With the continuous no bed syndrome, why are there so many abandoned hospital projects all over the country? And why are others like the UGMC being under-utilized? If that 12-year-old boy was my child or that of Sam George, was that the kind of care he would have been accorded when it was clear he needed to be referred?” he asked during an induction ceremony organized by the Accra Ubuntu Lions Club on Saturday.
“Why can’t we have a health system that works for all regardless of status, size of the pocket, who you know, or who knows you? This cannot be normal and we cannot accept this. The challenges in our broken healthcare system must not be allowed to fester. Some of the challenges are so basic that we have absolutely no excuse.”
“There is the need to implement a policy of ‘No medical treatment abroad’ for members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary with immediate effect. This appears to me to be the best way to address the numerous challenges in the health sector. This will force us to get things right and do right to avoid the needless death of the 12-year-old boy which continues to traumatize me,” he bemoaned.