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Special Feature

MDG’s and Consumers: Availability of Good Health Services is Possible

When was the last time you visited a health facility in Monrovia? When I say “visit,” I don’t mean when you stopover to see a patient, or see a friend. I mean, when was the last time you sought medical attention at a large health facility in Monrovia.  If you did seek medical attention recently, what was your experience?  If you haven’t, well be grateful.

Well, a friend visited a medical facility, or let’s says a few health centers in Monrovia recently, and her experience underscores the need for a quick check on the availability of adequate health care services, and the dedication of several medication staff in our country. We know that when health services are lagging, people (Consumers) who get ill cannot receive the needed services to recuperate. And if one person gets ill (pray that the illnesses is not contagious, otherwise they will spread) and doesn’t get the immediate and appropriate services, one human resources is going down the drain.

Aside fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal on health, let’s accept the fact that health is an important component to productivity! When we are ill, we cannot function properly at home, or at work. Do you doubt that? When was the last time you had severe headache, running stomach, and excruciating pain, among other illnesses and felt comfortable paying attention to your children, your spouse, and or successfully completing work at the office? When you are feeling ill, or ill, do you still burst with energy, think logically and or critically; do you feel sociable, or you still pretend to be happy? And how long do you think you can go on pretending?  Now, I hope you understand why I emphasized the importance of good health to creativity and being productive in both your personal and professional life! That’s simply because I have experienced the wrath of ill-heath many times in my life.

We don’t need the MDGs to illustrate through Goal the importance of good health to the eradication of poverty and in promoting sustainable development. Health is both a resource for, as well as an outcome of, sustainable development. We cannot achieve sustainable development in the presence of increasing illness and poverty. Additionally, the health of a population cannot improved or be maintained without a responsive health system.  And a responsive health system is one that had adequate health practitioners, and that includes specialists and ample medical equipment. Poor health system impedes poverty alleviation and economic development.

Some of you will want to know what my friend’s experience was- that prompted this article. I will summarize my friend’s experience.

My friend had been experiencing some medical problem. Over the course of four months, she visited several [proper- MD) doctors. During each of these visits, she was examined, and the diagnosis, and suggested treatments were profoundly diverse.

What puzzled my friend was that, during another rounds of visits, she couldn’t get the ultrasound exam at the time it was requested, simply because at three extensively different health facilities, the ultrasound machines were down. Aside the machines being down, she also observed that there are fewer technicians to operate most of the medical equipment. That means, the few technicians rotate – one technician operates medical equipment at over five pentagonic locations in the city.  Another puzzling issue is that technicians must come from Senegal to repair a few of the medical equipment that are not functioning.

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Isn’t that a cause for worry! In the face of high prevalence of debilitating illness and poverty, it is time that scholarships are provided to persons who have demonstrated interest in various health disciplines. To have fewer specialists or facilities is to have monopoly. And where there’s monopoly, we see lackadaisical behaviors, attitudes, arrogance, and overall pomposity. As market strategies have taught us, when the field is opened and free, we will have competition for demonstration of competence.

Among other steps to improve the health sector is the need to regularly review medical student intakes; coordinate initiatives for medical training, Implementation of a program for the development of specialist leadership and co-ordination of recruitment functions across District Health Boards.  Additionally, the purchase of large number of medical equipment for various functions should be a priority.

These are necessary if our society is to improve its health sector and meet the Millennium Development Goals.   Let us not forget that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are inter-dependent. All of the MDG influence health and health also influences all of the MDGs in every society. For example, when children are healthy, they can learn and adults can also earn. You cannot have gender equality in the absence of good health. If we must reduce poverty, hunger and environmental degradation, we must keep at the back of our minds that these can only be achieved through better health, and they also influence better health. .

As Dr . Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General Emeritus, WHO rightly said and I agree that, “Healthy life is an outcome of sustainable development, as well as a powerful and undervalued means of achieving it. We need to see health both as a precious asset in itself, and as a means of stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty.”

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