A healthy nation is a wealthy one. Health is a paramount part of the development of any country. A country whose citizens suffer due to the inadequacies of the health system in the country is one whose citizens live in anguish and hopelessness. A big social issue in the country is poor health systems.

But first, what is good health? According to Medical News Today, good health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Having a sound mind is good health. There are different types of health. These are physical health, mental health, social health, emotional health, spiritual health and intellectual health. The focus today is on physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, most people compare good health to one’s ability to live and do one’s duties without going to the hospital, leaving out the mental and other aspects. This is why there are so many hospitals with emergency centres for accidents amongst others but there are no emergency centres for mental breakdown.

A person’s health is one of the crucial things in their lives. Diet, amount of rest gotten in a day, and intake of alcohol, drugs and tobacco determine the quality of life one lives. Unfortunately, we live in a country where one can do all these things and yet be found at the door of death when some form of illness comes up.

There are insufficient hospitals in the country that provide affordable yet excellent healthcare. I doubt that any of these insufficient hospitals are state-owned. The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, created in August 2003 by the National Health Insurance Act, is a scheme put in place to provide financial support and subsidies for the costs of services and medicines for the people of the country registered on it.

This support starts from the Outpatient Department, OPD when one is admitted.  Unfortunately, this scheme is tantamount to a white elephant because funds are not relinquished to hospitals and pharmacies that provide their services on time. For fear of running into debt, they practice the cash and carry system. With high levels of poverty in the country, how many individuals can pay for the full cost of hospital services and charges?

This is a reason why most people stay at home buying unprescribed medicines from the pharmacy or unlicensed sellers to alleviate their pain. After all, these medicines are cheaper. Some of these medicines are expired and harmful to the human body. Pregnant women in labour with various forms of complications give birth at home. Some lose their lives with that of their babies while others lose just their babies. Can you imagine the pain a mother, who carried a baby for close to a year, goes through just to lose it due to the non-existent, inhumane and appalling nature of our health services?

There are so many communities in the rural areas with no hospitals, not even a clinic or CHPS compound. These people must walk for long hours in the scorching sun and horrible roads to access health services. How does a person who is in lots of pain do this? Even after getting to the hospital, no health workers take care of you. They either do not come to work or are busy playing games on their phones instead of giving you the needed attention.

Due to the low incomes these health workers earn with usually no incentive, they do not perform their jobs as they should. Some of them are lackadaisical and wicked. This brings my attention to the case of an SHS boy reported in the Daily Graphic who died lying on one of the hospital chairs because the nurse on duty wanted to finish watching her TikTok videos first. This boy was brought in as an emergency case.  What would you do as a mother or relation of this boy to this nurse? Why do we have just one nurse on duty? What if five emergency cases had come in at the same time?

The less said about our mortuary buildings, the better. It is an eyesore to visit the mortuary section of a public hospital. You might be traumatized for life. It is such a shame that when a person dies, they still suffer in their death. Unkempt rooms with leakages all around are the norm of the day. Bodies that are brought for upkeep are just left on these bare floors. These mortuary men and women are just paid meagre salaries that are not enough to feed them, yet they have children to take care of. These are the reasons for their actions. Why work hard when you are being underpaid and unacknowledged?

We have blood banks in some hospitals with no blood available for an emergency. Even if one wants to donate blood, these officials are unable to run the needed labs on the blood for them to be used. The people who work in these sections will ask you to look for a different hospital to buy blood from while your relative is dying.

These are the realities of our country when it comes to our health systems. They are abysmal and a shame to speak about. The government has to invest in making these hospitals work! They need to invest so that the NHIS can work! The government must buy the necessary machinery and equipment so that individuals who go to the hospital for such care will not die because the machines are in the USA or the UK. We pay taxes. Don’t we deserve better than this?