Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Apartheid in my own country

We often get enraged when we are discriminated against because we are black or not citizens of a particular country. But take a minute and look around your communities and see how much we practice segregation in our daily activities.

To begin with, go to our churches, some seats are reserved for some particular people because they are presiding elders, deacons or church financiers. So even when they are not in church, their seats are reserved for them. You the common member who came to church early, will sit outside the church because you don't hold such position(s). Other times too, certain positions are reserved for the 'Rich and Famous' in the church whether they can do it well or not. To the neglect of of the 'common church member' who can do the work better. Is this not apartheid in the church.

Again, go to our hospitals especially, the pediatrics centre or what we call in Ghanaian parlance 'Weighing'. A man goes there with a baby or toddler and the nurses make him jump the queue with the plenty women in it, and his child is taking care off  in some few minutes for him to go. So i ask 'what if every woman comes with the husband who will jump the queue?' Is this not Apartheid? Are the health workers saying that women are second to men in this country? This is what Buchi  Emecheta described in her novel Second Class Citizens.

Go to our banking sector, certain cages or rooms are reserved for a certain kind of profession. So if you are not in that class of profession and that cage is free you dare not use that cage. Is it not the same savings, current or investment account that we all hold? So why the segregation? Is it that our monies are so merger so they do not care much about them. No wonder savings and loans and micro finance companies are flourishing. Because they treat their customers as kings and queens.  They do not allow them to queue so that they will be discriminated against. They go to them at their various work places or destinations to take their savings or receive payment for loans.

We practice all these and more in our various communities yet we preach equality of all persons. The most disadvantaged in this are those with some form of disability or impairment: buildings including hospitals not to talk about churches, are not  disability friendly. When they manage to get into such public places every other thing they want to do is dependent on someone. So the visually impaired cannot not do and transact businesses such as banking without being aided because there are no brailles. What if the person writing for him cheats him or makes a mistake? Who is there to ensure that nothing like that happens or he should just trust.
Apartheid in my own country!!!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Consulting Outside the Consulting Room

I got to the hospital (OPD) records section to process my child's document; so we could see a doctor for treatment . So I spoke to the person in charge and she asked who is sick after presenting her the necessary information she needed. I responded to her question. Then she asked again "what is wrong with your child", I again responded to her question she followed with another question "how long has your child had that condition". At this time I asked myself "do doctors in this hospital work at the records section too? After asking all these questions she then processed the documents for me and directed me to a place where my child's vitals will be taken. There too I experienced the same thing except that the nurse taking the vitals called some of here colleagues who also came to do their own probing and then formed a quorum to discuss my child's condition and which doctor they think is best to see, before we were sent to the consulting room. This is what I call Consulting Outside the Consulting Room. If you are unfortunate and you are admitted, you'll have to explain to every nurse who comes on duty. While at the OPD, I realized am not the only one who experienced that but most of the patients especially, women, who came there.

 Is it a strategy to get some patients to go back in order to  cut down on the numbers?  You see apart from the fact that this attitude is unethical, it is also time wasting  and does a lot of harm to patients psychologically.

Consulting Outside the Consulting Room sometimes causes panic attacks in patients. Making patients feel their conditions are hopeless or they have to go through some expensive or painful treatment. This can get in the way of treatment; as patients become anxious and apprehensive during treatment.

It also lowers patients' confidence in some doctors, especially, if they couldn't meet the one (s) the nurses proposed. This causes disappointments in some patients when they get to the consulting room.

Again, Consulting Outside the Consulting Room, makes some patients to lie to the doctors about their conditions. All because of some comments a nurse made after probing them or a nurse's attitude towards them. So they tell themselves 'if a nurse is saying or doing this then, what will the doctor say or do'.  

This attitude also prevents people especially women (mothers) from coming to the hospital because they do not want to be explaining their condition or that of their children to nurses amidst embarrassment. As a result, many mothers with babies take their babies for immunization only when they have to be given vaccination, which shouldn't be the case. 

Nurses we know you mean well but this attitude is doing more harm than good.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

21st Century contraception

I know by now you'll be thinking about the normal contraceptives we have around. Such as the pills, implants, Intra Uterine Device (IUD), condoms, foaming tablets, vasectomy and what have you. Others may perhaps be thinking about the natural ones.

In the 21st century, people are practising new forms of contraception knowingly or unknowingly. These methods ,though not medical, have proven effective if not very effective.

The first among these methods which has proven very effective the world over is 'economic contraception'. Due to economic hardships and  perhaps urbanization young couples have reduced the number of children they bring forth drastically. In fact, off late it is very rare to find a woman with ten children or more. Unlike our parents and grandparents generation who pride themselves in having a lot of children; even to the extent that in the Akan society a man who brought forth to ten children with one woman, was rewarded with a sheep (badudwan) by his in-laws. What is interesting about economic contraception is that it is the men who are spear heading it. Unlike the medical one which targets the women most. This method has caused some countries to record a negative growth rate.

The second method is having minors (children less than eighteen years) around. As we popularly call them  Abeku. This method, though very annoying, has proven to be quite effective. You know how these Abekus are: they won't sleep early, they want to be where you are, they want to share your bed even when they have their own and they will go heaven and earth to attract your attention no matter the time of day. So please don't shove them to their grandparents and aunties because they are helping you to plan your family. This method is proven to be very effective especially in the urban societies where nuclear families are mostly found.

The third among them is career contraception. This is where women in their reproductive age postpone given birth because of their career. In fact, in the western world some women are considering freezing their ovaries (eggs) to concentrate on their career  and make babies in later years. This type of contraception is common in the western world, but its gradually creeping into the Ghanaian society.It used to be the women who were practising it but now the men are also into it. Young men of our days want to be successful and achieve everything before settling down to make babies. The only excuse they give is "I don't want any woman to come and take away my 'freedom' ''.  

The last among them is geographical contraception. Where because of over population laws have been made forcing citizens of certain countries to have fewer children. In some cases only one: whether couples can take care of their offspring or not.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Why Private Hospital?

Have you ever wondered why 'those who can afford' will always prefer private hospitals to the government ones? It is not because they have the best doctors or facilities. In fact, the doctors who work at these private hospitals are the same doctors in the government hospitals. Besides, the best medical facilities are found in the government hospitals. So I ask the 'sixty-four million dollar question' again: Why Private Hospitals?

To begin with, the government hospitals are very hostile and not patient friendly. Get to the OPDs in the morning and you are met with long queues. If you are unfortunate, you will stand through out the period while waiting to process or get your records. Even pregnant women have to go through this ordeal. To avoid being in long queues and standing, you will have to get to the hospital as early as 4 or 5 am when the OPD staff are not available. Again, it takes at least an hour if not hours to process your documents or get your existing records. In sum the OPDs are just chaotic.

While going through this at the OPD, toilet facilities are very unhygienic or you will have to pay to use a very dirty one. If you are unfortunate and you get to the hospital after 5 pm, then you have to endure because these toilet facilities are sometimes closed whether paid or free. Some hospitals even lock their toilet facilities at 3 pm.

In addition, some hospitals do not take or record patients' vitals before sending them to the consulting room.  Have you ever being to the consulting room and the Dr. ask of your weight and you have no idea? So without such information patients go to the consulting room only for the doctor to send them back to take their vitals. When they go back to the OPD, getting a nurse to take the vitals also becomes a problem.

Also, nurses in the government hospitals behave as if they are doing patients a favour. They shout at you at the least mistake. Woe betide you, they call your name and you don't respond immediately. They leave their post as they like without informing or reassuring the patients that they will be back.

In short going to the the government hospital in Ghana is like a punishment. As if being ill is not enough.

If you've ever been to a private hospital or clinic before, you'll agree with me that all these 'wahala' you go through at the government hospitals are non-existent.

Please share your experience.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Beating of Journalists in Recent Times

"Journalism is public service"- Mahatma Gandhi. That was why in the 18th century it was accorded the position of the 'Fourth Estate' in the democratic dispensation. However, in recent times, some journalists and media houses instead of doing service to the nation, have  allowed themselves to be turned into PR and propaganda engines for some prominent individuals and political parties in the country. Statistics show that over hundred journalists were beaten from 2008 till date and I think some of these journalists deserved to be beaten if you ask me. Even some journalists were beaten just last weekend.

In as much as I don't condone violence, I also believe in the rights of the public; that is the responsibility of the journalist towards the public. Some Gh journalists don't respect the rights of the very public they claim to serve. Some of these journalists are obsessed with 'freedom of the press'; so they go about exercising this right as they like; all in the name of 'searching for truth', forgetting that their rights end where the public's own starts. Besides, when it comes to the elements of news, all that some of these journalists care about is the 'who'. In the case of the Daily Graphic reporter, he deserved to be beaten because the code of ethics of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) states that "In case of personal grief or distress, the journalist should exercise tact and diplomacy in seeking information and publishing." But this particular journalist didn't apply any of these in asking the question which led to his beating; so far as a celeb was in the equation, he'll ask his question not taking into account the feeling of the person(s) and his family. When the case was taken to the law court, the Daily Graphic reporter redrew the case; saying it was in the interest of his family.

Moreover, some of these journalists who were beaten, had thrown the code of ethics of the profession to the dogs. I mean the code of ethics of the GJA, of which one states that "The journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustration only by straight forward means." and many more. These journalists have resorted to the practice of Ambush and Yellow Journalism. All because they  don't want the truth to be concealed.

Furthermore, some of the journalists who were beaten were not audience sensitive. They think we their audience don't have much choices or no choice at all but to listen or read whatever they bring. Even the GJA code of ethics states that " In the collection and disseminating information, the journalist should bear in mind his/her responsibility to the public at large and the various interests in the society". Lately I have been appalled by these sex scandals that has been going on in our media. I ask myself  "Is it what the public want to hear or its just a revenge on someone". If the journalists who were beaten had taken pains to put themselves in the shoes of the public they report to, certain questions wouldn't have been posed, certain reports wouldn't have come to the public domain and no journalist or media personnel wouldn't have been beaten.

As listeners and readers, I suggest we start blacklisting these journalists and their media houses by not viewing or listening to their television or radio stations and also not reading their papers including their mobile and online ones. I believe if we their audience start taking such measures it will force the media houses and journalists to conform to the accepted standards.This is the power we have as audience to ensure that the right practices are adhered to. I  also suggest that Gh journalists who are not members of GJA and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) make it a point to join, to learn the proper standards of the profession, for their own protection and also to ensure that no Journalist is beaten in future.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Shopping Receipt

What is the brain behind the stamping of a shopping receipt after shopping in a supermarket. When it is often written below the receipt that "goods sold are not returnable". Then, why waste my time by stamping the receipt. Trust me, even if it takes ten seconds to do the stamping, it's still a waste of time. I just don't get the rational behind the stamping.

I mean with the clause below the receipt "goods sold are not returnable", the stamping of the receipt doesn't nullify that clause.  Neither is it going to be used as evidence to prove that indeed you bought the product(s) from that particular shop when you want to return it. So why waste my time.

If you've noticed, those who do the stamping don't cross-check with the items you've bought to see if there has been some form of shop lifting or not. Though, they are not going to cross-check, the way they call you back when you forget to give them your receipt for stamping is sometimes so embarrassing; as if you haven't paid for the product(s) and you are walking away.

Sometimes I wonder if the stamping of the receipt is just a formality (it's been done elsewhere so we should also do same), used to keep track of the number of receipts issued out that day, though I don't see any recording being done, or it's just a way to get someone employed.

In my candid opinion, the stamping of the receipt is so 1964 and unnecessary.

Please someone enlighten me on the rational behind the stamping of the receipt.