Home World By now underserved by health care, how would Covid-19 hit Ghana’s poorest?

By now underserved by health care, how would Covid-19 hit Ghana’s poorest?


With above 100,000 people crammed on a land the place of five football pitches, Previous Fadama is Ghana’s greatest slum

6 out of 10 people in Ghana do not have health insurance plan and healthcare infrastructure tilts in favour of the haves and socially-privileged. There is 1 medical doctor to 10,000 people– two periods far more than the quantity recommended by the Globe Overall health Organisation.

A 2017 report revealed 79 districts hospitals with no doctors and 82 of the country’s most deprived districts without a healthcare facility. The Countrywide Wellbeing Insurance policy Scheme– the country’s protection internet for the poor to look for professional medical care- currently subscribed to by about 40 % of Ghanaians, is now at breaking level, reeling beneath weighty debt. 

So how would the country’s marginalised cope with a COVID-19 epidemic?

In excess of 100,000 persons are living in the Aged Fadama enclave. It is Ghana’s major shanty town– house to countless numbers of head porters and doers of practically almost everything menial.

It is a Sunday early morning. A authorities ban on congregation of men and women extra than 25 is nonetheless in power so a handful of users of the “True Life in Jesus Ministry” have occur to pray.

“We are in this article to pray for the region,” suggests Kwadwo Agyei, the Pastor leading the support. “The way the coronavirus is likely, only God can save us,” he tells me in damaged English.

The area which has now been turned into the makeshift church the place the congregation is praying employed to be portion of a hospital – the only one that existed in the Outdated Fadama group for many decades. It was a personal facility operated by a male folks fondly called Dr Plange.

Dr Plange died in 2006. The medical center collapsed on his demise and with it, health care in this enclave.

The Dr Plange Medical center, operate by a non-public citizen used to be the only wellness facility in Old Fadama. Now, it has been taken ver by filth

“When Dr Plange was in this article, you didn’t need to have to vacation. If you have a headache, you only stroll a few meters from your household and you can see him listed here and you are going to be good,” suggests Stephen Arku Savah, the Ewe Chief in this article and one the chiefs major the 16 acknowledged ethnic groups in the slum.

Portion of the construction is now a refuse
dump. Its roofs are ripped off making it possible for water to seep into other sections to kind
puddles in other pieces that employed to hold cabinets for medicines.

Authorities has consistently parried calls to spend interest to the people at Old Fadama. The Point out maintains they are living there illegally. And so there are no state services. No educational facilities, no operating water, and no hospitals for a community of 100,000 individuals.

Members of the Real Lifetime in Jesus Ministries dedicate their Sunday prayers to support the fight from coronavirus

Previous Fadama may perhaps be the intense situation
instance of the issue of Ghana’s lousy but they are not pretty considerably from what
the truth is for almost 25 % of the country’s 30 million people who are

“Deeper inequities are heading to be uncovered for the duration of this COVID-19 time period for the reason that, above time, we have not invested in health and fitness infrastructure to access all and provide the financing that is needed,” suggests Dr Abena Asomaning Antwi, a Well being Economist who has put in years studying the livelihoods of persons in the Old Fadama enclave.  

Bulk of the residents in Previous Fadama have occur from northern Ghana and do the job as head porters in nearby marketplaces like Agbogbloshie wherever a chunk of foodstuff in Accra is sold and acquired.

West Legon, found near to Ghana’s leading university – the College of Ghana – is a plush, upmarket vicinity. Its serene lands and houses were being snapped up by the country’s abundant and properly-linked yrs back.

Now, you need to have an average of GH¢2,000 (approximately 350 USD and additional than five occasions a each day bare minimum wage revenue earner gets paid a month), to lease a property monthly here. Driving via its paved and asphalted roadways, this put appears to be like like a diverse region from the slim shacks and crowded alleyways in Old Fadama.

In the heart of the location is the Medifem Multi-Professional and Fertility Center – a well-outfitted health facility with some of the most expert overall health companies and condition-of-the-artwork services providing healthcare that would rival what is delivered in numerous middle-earnings nations. The expert services they give right here appear at a selling price, way over what the normal revenue earner in Ghana can find the money for.

The Medifem Multi-Specialist Hospital and Fertility Center is one particular of the greatest non-public overall health services in Ghana.

“We have methods in place… all set to quit the distribute of the an infection (coronavirus),” claims Dr Ampofo Koranteng, a Expert Gynaecologist of 42 several years standing, the male primary the hospital’s COVID-19 Unexpected emergency response.

From testing for people’s temperature suitable at the entrance, provision for handwashing and jogging h2o and a detailed journey historical past verify of each one person strolling into the facility for company, Medifem has a robust procedure that seeks to recognize those people probably to be at hazard of coronavirus infection.

“There’s this difference in between the poor and those people who can afford to pay for. The inadequately resourced, even to get to a medical center, you have to get into community transport and when you get there you have to queue for a lengthy time. All of these [promote] the distribute of the virus,” states Dr Koranteng.

Medifem has one of the most sturdy systems in place to test and isolate men and women at threat of Coronavirus

This kind of substantial-stop personal overall health services like Medifem are number of in Ghana. It could price tag you up to GH¢500 (roughly 90 USD) on the ordinary to get an appointment with a health care provider in some of them based on the ailment you have. Since several of the slum dwellers in Aged Fadama are day by day wage earners with no security of cash flow, that is income they can not help save even in an complete thirty day period.

Which is in accordance to 50-year-aged Israel Agbenu, who moved into the slum 10 decades in the past. He offers energy to charge cellular cell phone batteries and sells h2o for a living. Out of this enterprise, he caters for 5 kids and his wife. 3 yrs ago, he was identified with diabetes. He has to see the physician every single week and make way of living modifications like going for walks and performing exercises often. A 12 months in the past, he stopped heading to see the medical professional.   

50-yr previous Israel Agbenu stands in his stall exactly where he fees cellular phones for a fee and sells water.

“I have to travel each working day. Acquire a automobile
and expend so significantly. So I stopped. If I have to go through all of that to see a
physician then I’d stay right here and die slowly and gradually,” he claims.

Social distancing is an high-priced privilege only a handful of can afford to pay for and with no healthcare available to the folks in Aged Fadama, a coronavirus outbreak listed here would spell doom, Mr. Agbenu fears. “There are no roadways listed here and so if there is someone who will get infected by the coronavirus, how would a auto come right here and decide on them? 

Individuals like Israel are at their wit’s conclude, eking out a residing in this slum. He would rather be here than die of starvation in his native Volta Region wherever he states there are really handful of jobs available.

Israel was identified with diabetic issues two many years back and has to travel outside of Old Fadama to see a doctor every single 7 days.

“If you are a millionaire and you are
living somewhere and all the money in Ghana is used on developing services for
you and we have almost nothing, know that if coronavirus arrives here, everybody would
get some since people occur from in this article and go all over the place,” claims Arku Savah, the
Ewe Chief in Outdated Fadama.

Covid-19 is spreading like wildfire and industry experts warn, it is only a subject of when and not if, it would arrive here in Previous Fadama. Every person here is aware that. What they do not know is if they, like Ghana’s privileged number of, would at any time be prepared for it when it will come.

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