Ghana at risk of major health crisis due to poor emergency care system

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is warning of dire health challenges in the coming years should government fail to substantially invest in the country’s emergency medical care system.

The Association says aside from the low doctor-to-patient ratio of 1,000 patients to a doctor, inadequate facilities for the smooth operation of emergency medical services in Ghana have led to a number of preventable deaths.

General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Justice Yankson, says the situation, which is getting worse by the day, needs urgent government attention.

“The key thing is that we have not invested enough in healthcare generally, so in emergency health care services, we haven’t invested at all. We have a huge population, but how many emergency care services exist in the system? What is the level of resources that can handle emergency cases properly? Clearly, our population has outstripped the health system capacity, and we need to quickly invest in there and have a short to the medium-term plan to address the systematic challenges as we prepare for the long term.”, he said.

In 2018, Ghana was rated as one of the countries in the world with the worst emergency healthcare services.

The country was labeled as a ‘high medical risk’ country especially for travelers according to the 2018 Health Risk Map by International SOS.

The organisation, which is focused on providing travelers with health information and emergency services across the world, has been producing the report for the past 8 years.

The report Placed Ghana in the category of countries whose local emergency and dental care, as well as administrative barriers in health, were unimpressive, negatively affecting overall quality healthcare delivery.

Other countries within sub-Saharan Africa that share the same rating as Ghana include Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Sudan.

The assessment shows that South Africa is the only African country that is of low medical risk, having high-quality emergency and dental services as well as low risk for infectious diseases.

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