Self-medication in Ghana alarming’ – BusinessGhana
The prevalence rate of self-medication is high among Ghanaians due to the high cost of accessing quality health care in health facilities, Mr. Samuel Boakye Donkor, Vice President of the Association of Private Health Institutions of Ghana.
He noted that the government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme, often delayed payment of claims to service providers under the scheme, resulting in private health facilities having to charge patients or customers before rendering the services.
Given this, those who could not afford to pay the high bills, associated with the stress involved, stay home and resort to self-medication and end up worsening their condition.
Mr. Donkor said so in his contribution to a panel discussion organized alongside the ongoing West Africa Pharma and Healthcare Exhibition in Accra, on the theme: “Africa’s healthcare industry and access to finance “.
He lamented the lack of access to finance to run private health facilities as most banks were unwilling to offer them loans given the perceived high risks in lending to private facilities.
“Nobody wants to lend us money because of the risks, but we have to buy new medical equipment, buy medicine, pay our workers, pay taxes and VAT, etc., so how do we manage our facilities?” , he asked.
Mr. Donkor also lamented the outdated and rigid laws in the health sector which have hampered operations in the sector and the quality of services rendered.
He cited, for example, a law that says, “If a physician in a private health facility is caring for a patient and the cost of the care or services rendered is too high and cannot be paid by the patient , the doctor should refer the patient to a public health facility… and so if there is no public health facility in the area, should the person die?”… said he asked, rhetorically.
Mr. Daniel Appiah, head of corporate and SME finance at CalBank, said most healthcare institutions in the country were not well prepared in terms of finances to run their facilities.
“There are poor accounting practices, no well-defined structure to run the healthcare facility,” he said.
“Most of the time, the CEO or the founder of the establishment acts as an accountant, marketing manager, purchasing manager, and that there is no succession plan on the property of the establishment.”
He was of the opinion that with a well-structured governance system in place, it would be easier for banks or financial institutions to offer loans to the health facility.
Mr Appiah said that although banks allocated funds to support private health facilities, all applicants were expected to meet the requirements, which most of them failed.
He called for well-structured governance structures, a business plan and a succession plan for ownership to enable facilities to obtain financial support from banks.
Mr. Thomas James, Project Director of the West Africa Pharma and Healthcare Exhibition, said that in every gap or challenge there were opportunities to profit and support humanity, and urged pharmaceutical companies, exhibitors and participants to take advantage of any challenge and make society a better place.