06.03.17 | News, Project of the Month

Medical Care for the Poor

In March, the Project of the Month comes from Ghana
A Ghanaian boy with a cast

The medical services of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana help the young and the old. (Photo: EMS/Edwards-Raudonat)

Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, Ghana: The 30-year-old Vida Musah enters the hospital. She has a left thigh cellulitis with ulcers on the surface. The young woman works as a farmer in the Ashanti region of Ghana but she earns hardly enough to survive. She enters the hospital penniless and is not able to pay for her stay in the hospital, far less her medication or food.

For people like her, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) has launched the "Poor and Sick Fund". Since 2005, Ghana offers a health insurance but many Ghanaians are not insured. Furthermore, the insurance does not cover all treatment expenses. The patients have to pay for medication or transportation themselves. The PCG fund helps poor and sick people who have no health insurance but need a medical treatment.

A committee decides on the amount of support for each patient. In Vida Musah's case the fund of the church bears all cost of treatment – the hospital expenses, medication and food as well as the transport back home to her village. Additionally, the 30-year-old will be registered for the national health insurance. For many weeks, Vida has to stay in Agogo hospital. She also needs a skin grafting to ensure her full recovery – a procedure she would have never been able to pay on her own.

With its four district hospitals, 27 health centres, nine basic health services and two nursing colleges the PCG helps many people especially in the rural areas of Ghana.

The staff of the Bawku Hospital, which is placed in the border triangle between Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso, treats all emergencies of the region. And the "Poor and Sick Fund" compensates treatment costs for indigent people from neighbouring countries as well. More than 13,000 people are treated in the Agogo Hospital; 116,500 patients receive ambulant treatment. With its 250 beds and five departments, the hospital is an example for the Presbyterian Health Services that make an important contribution to the health care in Ghana.

Elisa Heiligers

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