Ho, Aug. 03, GNA – Dr Christina Osei-Yeboah, a Consultant Paediatrician and a Public Health Specialist, has described health literacy in Ghana as poor.
“This is because the country’s health system is fragmented with different cadres of people providing health services and information they often do not have requisite training or qualification to provide,” she said.
Dr Osei-Yeboah was addressing this year’s Ghana Biomedical Convention at the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, on the theme: “Accelerating the Momentum for Science in Africa.”
She noted that the limited number of well-trained health professionals providing services in Ghana created a situation where many in need of healthcare and health information never got access to the right skilled person.
Dr Osei-Yeboah said the few professionals, however, were too busy diagnosing and providing treatments with little attention to communicating drug and health information to clients.
She observed that the country’s formal health system was intimidating with previous unpleasant experiences at hospitals which did not encourage people to seek health information from the facilities.
Dr Osei-Yeboah said consequently, a good number of the citizenry still relied on folktales on diseases and unable to make informed decisions on their health.
She said apart from communication mismatch and poor reading culture, the media was also allowing all sorts of information to be aired once the airtime could be paid for, with herbalists and spiritualists exploiting the airwaves.
Dr Ozei-Yeboah said the situation had made many, especially the poor, vulnerable to peddlers who engaged and sold drugs at public places including vehicles.
She, therefore, challenged media practitioners, especially programme hosts, to know their responsibilities and engage the right expertise to share appropriate health information.
Dr Osei-Yeboah asked health workers to use plain and culturally acceptable language for client benefit and called on the private sector to invest in programmes that would improve health literacy.
Professor Karen Duca, the Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, GhanaBiomed 2016, said the annual convention was promoting biomedical research in Ghana and Africa.
The convention attracted researchers and experts from Africa, Europe and North America.