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Navrongo Bolgatanga Diocese of Catholic Health Service Trust responds to “misleading” news report

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Weeks ago, a media report alleged that the Catholic Health Service, Navrongo Bolgatanga Diocese, contracted a locum doctor at a total cost Gh¢ 89,210 while the facility, Martyrs of Uganda Health Centre in Sirigu, was bedevilled with serious challenges. 

The report has been described as misleading. 

The Health Director at the Catholic Health Service Trust, Navrongo Bolgatanga Diocese, Peter Akudugu Ayamba has explained that the service of a medical doctor at the Martyrs of Uganda Health Centre in Sirigu community in the Kassena-Nankana West District was to help the facility meet some basic requirements for facilities seeking to upgrade themselves from health centre status to the status of hospitals. 

According to Mr. Ayamba, before a health facility can be upgraded to the status of a hospital, one the basic criteria is the presence of a doctor, a key requirement the Martyrs of Uganda Health Centre in Sirigu community lacked. 

“The Diocese in line with its 2019-2023 strategic plan earmarked this facility for upgrading to a Primary Hospital in following high service utilisation and increasing demand for service expansion as a community needs and expectations. So, Martyrs of Uganda Health Centre in Sirigu is one of the 12 Health centres earmarked for upgrading during the period.  The facility over the years had served the good people of Sirigu and its surrounding communities very well, meeting their expectations. We therefore needed to speed up the process, which led to the temporal engagement of  a doctor to facilitate the upgrading of the facility to a Primary hospital. In fact, it was very difficult getting a doctor to accept posting to the place, as deprived as it was, especially a medical officer with a minimum of five years working experience was a requirement.”

He clarified that; the engagement was a temporary measure which led to a permanent engagement of the said medical officer appointed to lead the upgrading process at the facility.

“In fact, there was no wrongdoing at all and the Doctor only received what was due him as was negotiated and approved for him as a senior medical officer. If the office was to work with actual terms of engagement for locum, we should have paid more for his service, that is a trade-off that the office had to make to have him. Indeed, let put on record, the reporter was very mischievous in his reportage, he presents as though there was an illegality in the facility, again the concerns that were raised were issues that were already being handled and for which he, the reporter was aware. I told him the issues were being dealt with and together with the Chief as we were planning a joint durbar to explain issues to the people. We felt that there was some lack of information that made the community members feel they were not attended to, that is why we are having the durbar today, but not necessarily because of the reports.” 

According to the report, the facility was spending more than Gh¢ 89,210 on a doctor while struggling to get drugs and other consumables like gloves and malaria test kits to offer effective healthcare services to patients.

Mr. Ayamba admonished media persons to always be circumspect on reporting concerns of community members and health care service delivery, as it may breed unnecessary community agitation. 

“Reports though I’m not a media person should help address the challenges, enhance service and improve community development and harmony and not acrimony. In fact, the said reporter should have tried to seek further clarification, before publishing it, if indeed there was no ill-intention, it does not matter how long it will take him to get the facts, in investigation, there is no need to rush. But here we are, so, I will say as professionals please always do your background checks before publishing anything.” 

He therefore assured that the diocese will work assiduously to improve and upgrade the Martyrs of Uganda Health Centre to a hospital status hence the availability of the medical officer.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1 MHz|Moses Apiah|Ghana

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