Holding patients as ‘hospital prisoners’ cruel – Amnesty International



Amnesty International-Ghana has called on the government to halt the growing trend of hospitals detaining patients for their inability to pay medical bills.

This comes on the back of the exposé on GHOneTV of 14-year-old Mary Lamptey and 36-year-old Akua Ditua who have been detained for nonpayment of their bills after undergoing surgeries.

These two, are just a few of many grappling with similar circumstances in Ghana.

Starr News report a few weeks ago uncovered a patient “detention room” at St. Joseph’s Hospital at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

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The room has been designated to detain patients who have been discharged but are unable to pay their medical bills.

The room has obsolete medical beds where the affected patients sleep.

However, speaking on GHOneTV, the Vice Chairman for Amnesty International-Ghana, Elizabeth Comfort Adomako expressed anger with the development in the country.

According to her, the manner in which hospital authorities have resorted to detaining patients who are not able to pay their bills places Ghana in a bad light.

“The person who cannot pay and if the person cannot pay, why do you hold him hostage? Holding him hostage will add to the financial loss to the State or the hospital? Aside that the physical and mental torture the patient will go through from the hospital bed to the floor is inhumane, very inhuman.

“It is shameful as a country if you look at where we have come to as a country. We want to be the gateway of what not. We cannot take care of our patients and we cannot contribute and pay for those who need it, especially the government,” Madam Adomako disclosed.

Meanwhile, the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation some weeks back paid the medical bills for 30 women who were in detention at the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital in the Ashanti Region.

The Foundation after settling the GHC30,000 medical bills of the nursing mothers and their children also gave each mother a hamper and transportation of GHC700.00.

Executive Director of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem Prempeh said, the gesture falls within the foundation’s thematic area which focuses on free healthcare support for less privileged people.

The nursing mothers in detention in the facility commended the management of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II foundation for facilitating their release from the facility.

The Chief executive of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso appealed to the corporate institutions and Philanthropists to come to the aid of other persons in detention in the facility.

He said the management of the hospital is not comfortable with the detention policy but the situation calls for it.


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