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Trading in patients at the Tamale Teaching Hospital

Health and Lifestyle
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Tamale, Oct. 17, GNA – Some health personnel especially doctors have allegedly turned the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) into a money making centre to enrich themselves to the neglect of performing assigned duties to generate money for the facility.

     An investigation by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) revealed a lot of rot at the hospital, which needs urgent attention to clean the system for the hospital to befit its status as a teaching and referral facility.
     The investigations revealed among others that some doctors at the Trauma and orthopedic ward headed by Dr Tolgou Yempabe, allegedly attended to patients and pocketed the money while others in OPD and various wards prescribed laboratory tests to be done outside the TTH, which affected the revenue base of the hospital.
     For instance patients with fracture cases for surgery are diverted from the TTH to the Kabsad Scientific Hospital, a small facility under construction and Dr Tolgou would charge between GHC2,500 and GHC9,000 depending on the extent of fracture and patients who cannot afford resort to local treatments.
     After the surgeries are done at Kabsad, patients with complications are brought to the Trauma and orthopaedic ward at TTH for admission under the supervision of Dr Tolgou Yempabe or Dr Alexis Buunaim, also a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon for Health Insurance to cover the expenditure, which according to some staff members was an abuse of the Health Insurance.
      According to GNA investigations, some doctors including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) are operating their own clinics in the Tamale Metropolis and they allegedly report to work very late while others also plant agents at the TTH OPD to convince and direct patients to those private clinics.
     The Investigations also revealed that doctors have also established links with laboratories and pharmacies in the Tamale Metropolis and would prescribe drugs to be bought outside TTH or tests to be run at specific laboratories other than the TTH.
     Some members of staff who spoke to the GNA on condition of anonymity alleged Dr Kpe Petit Amenuveve, at the Trauma and orthopaedic ward allegedly attended to a patient and collected GHC1,000 and pocketed and that the case was currently before the Director of Finance, Mr Karim Kuuri.
     The source told the GNA that, “The rot here is beyond internal management to solve because some of the top management members including the CEO are part of those creating the rot. The CEO himself for instance runs a private clinic and he spends most of the prime hours outside the TTH and how can he work to instill discipline here when some of the doctors are even working at his clinic?”
     “The CEO has organised only one management meeting ever since he took over and he travels without handing over, which is wrong. In short from the CEO to the last man at the morgue are rotten and sometimes staff members when sick, we attend other health facilities because the doctors are not just coming on time”, the source alleged.
     “Look my brother, the truth is that there is no law and order for now. Autopsy reports are done and the doctor in charge pockets the money, mortuary men are pocketing the monies, laboratory technicians are into brisk business at private laboratories, maternity ward nurses are charging for ward fund and no one can stop them”, the source alleged.
     Meanwhile, Dr David Zawumya Akolbila, the Chief Executive Officer of the Tamale Teaching Hospital has confirmed some of the allegations against some doctors who use the facility for personal gains but denied planting agents at OPD to convince patients to attend his clinic.
          He told the GNA that most of the allegations about the hospital were true and assured that management would work harder to correct the problems for the facility to regain its past glory.
     He condemned doctors at the Trauma and Orthopaedic ward for diverting patients to a private hospital for surgery but explained that the TTH had no implants for fracture surgery, which compelled the doctors to purchase their own implants for the surgery outside TTH.
     He said in the past TTH procured the implants for the surgeries but they got finished without being accounted for, which made management to stop procuring them.
     He said, “Post operation management at TTH when the operations are not done here is unacceptable”, and assured that the necessary measures would be put in place to stop the practice for TTH to generate more revenue.
     He also confirmed that he has information about doctors allegedly prescribing drugs to be bought outside the TTH and tests were also done outside while the TTH best laboratories were becoming white elephants but denied planting agents at the OPD to convince patients to attend his clinic.
     Mr Karim Kuuri, Director of Finance also confirmed that some doctors were charging patients and pocketing money saying, “I have a file here concerning a patient’s relative who claimed he paid money in cash to a doctor and we are investigating it”.
     He said the employment of the accused, Dr Kpe Petit Amenuveve, had not yet been regularised and expressed shock at his behaviour and assured that the necessary sanctions would be taken after the investigations.
     He said despite the loopholes in revenue collection, the hospital was still making a lot of money but at a slow pace and expressed hope that if such problems were addressed the revenue base would increase.
    He said for the first time in the hospital’s history, it had been able to save a total of GHC900,000 after paying its debts in the short period that the current CEO took over.
     Meanwhile the hospital recorded 66 maternal mortality in 2016 and 33 in the second quarter of 2017.

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