THE government’s policy of making delivery free-of-charge for pregnant women in the country is under threat in the Kintampo South District in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Most pregnant women in the district, especially, those from remote and deprived communities who are due for delivery, have to do so at home since they do not have access to the health facilities in the district.
The reason is that pregnant women, who are to access Antenatal Care (ANC) at the community level, have been asked to pay GH¢2 each before they could receive such treatment.
Majority of the victims are peasant farmers who cannot afford the hospital fees, a situation that compels most of them to deliver at home instead of visiting the health facilities.
Information available to the Daily Graphic indicated that deliveries at home in the district is about 75 per cent, according to the Public Health office in the district.
Primary health education, which was also supposed to be at the core of healthcare delivery in the district is also not in existence as health workers who are supposed to carry out this basic function at the community level, have been denied the needed logistics, especially a vehicle for the district directorate of health services to embark on health education in remote and deprived communities in the district.
Another problem that is hampering healthcare delivery in the district is the poor human and working relations between the health directorate and health workers.
The development is grinding healthcare delivery to a halt in the district, according to some health personnel who pleaded anonymity for fear of being victimised by authorities at the health directorate.
This came to light when this writer visited the district to investigate reports made by some concerned peasant farmers from the district.
Among the communities visited were Nomsuano, Agyegyekuma, Anyima, Ampoma, Apesika, Ntakro, Boadi Number One and Boadi Number Two, Boase, Komkomba, Erata, Jerusalem.
In all the communities visited by this writer, the people complained bitterly about the poor healthcare delivery, especially in the areas of antenatal care, family-planning ,child welfare service and public health education.
Some of the people who spoke to this writer, said even though they were told sometime ago that antenatal care was free, they were being made to pay GH¢2 so most of the pregnant women have decided to give birth at home instead of going to the health facilities.
They added that the visits by community health nurses to their communities to give them health education at the community level had also ceased.
The people, therefore, appealed to the district chief executive (DCE) to help address the situation since most of them were resorting to unorthodox means to meet their health needs.
A visit by this writer to the district government hospital at Jema, the district capital, revealed the same problem.
Some staff at the hospital who pleaded anonymity for fear of being victimised, said supervised delivery had gone down as many women preferred to deliver at home instead of going to the hospital.
They added that morale had also gone down as a result of the poor human and working relations between the facility and the health directorate.
The concerned hospital staff, therefore, called for immediate intervention to create a peaceful and congenial atmosphere for them to work to ensure quality healthcare delivery in the district.
When this writer contacted the DCE, Mr Nyame Kojo Datiakwa, he confirmed the story and said his outfit was investigating why pregnant women were being charged to pay GH¢2 for antenatal care which had been made free by the government.
He said his outfit was also taking realistic measures to enhance primary healthcare delivery at the community level but those efforts were being thwarted by the authorities at the district health directorate who were not being co-operative.
Mr Datiakwa added that the concern of the people had been made known to the district health directorate but nothing was being done about it.
He stressed that as the political head of the district, he was taking steps in consultation with the relevant authorities at the regional and national levels to get the problems addressed to ensure access to quality health care in the district since the district health directorate was not co-operating.
Staff of the district health directorate who spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity also confirmed the story.
They, therefore, called for intervention at the top level to help restore morale of staff and health workers which was at the lowest ebb due to the poor human and working relations.
Efforts to get the District Director of Health Services, Madam Grace Kafui Anyaidi, for her part on the allegations proved futile as this writer was told that she had travelled outside the town.
Several attempts to speak to her on her mobile phone proved futile as the calls did not go through and when it went through eventually, she cut the call.