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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Disability in Healthcare


Hello readers, welcome to our blog. This week’s post will be based on a recent visit to Tamale Central Hospital where we had a focus-group meeting with numerous health professionals which ranged from nurses on wards to laboratory technicians.  

Tamale Central Hospital
We conducted a focus-group discussion in order to investigate the healthcare system, in regards to how in and out patients with disabilities are treated in hospital, whether the hospital’s facilities have been adapted so that patients with physical disabilities can easily access the different departments of the hospital and find out the health professionals views on disability and challenges whilst treating PWD’s.

During this focus-group discussion it was evident that the health professionals were passionate about caring for their Patients who had disabilities because they yearned for training, such as sign language training so that their communication would be more effective when treating deaf patients.

It was quite interesting to find out how the hospital’s staff have been using their own initiatives to improve their communication with disabled people, for instance the hospital has a special waiting area to attend to deaf patients because in the past patients did not hear the doctors calling their names for their test results.  
 
Tamale Central Hospital waiting room

Some deaf patients can read and write to communicate issues or have supportive family members that come to hospital to help with communication between their relative and the doctor. Most patients cannot understand sign language as only a small percentage of deaf people received formal education. Although Ghana has The Person With Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) which gives persons with disabilities the right to education.

The hospital staff, for example the laboratory technicians go outside to meet their patients who are physically disabled so that they do not struggle to gain entry into the hospital.

The hospital staff also internally raised funds to get wheelchair ramps attached to some entrances of the departments in the hospital as they are trying to comply with Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution, which states that: “As far as practicable, every place to which the public have access shall have appropriate facilities for disabled persons.” The discussions highlighted the fact that the hospital needs major funding from the government in order to make the hospital fully wheelchair-friendly.

Overall the visit to the hospital was positive because it was a great experience and inspiring to meet dedicated health professionals who are doing their best to look after patients with disabilities however it is unfortunate that the government has not provided the hospital with sufficient funds to make the hospital more  accessible. As long as the government does not give the hospital funding it could be said that PWD’s will continually have mobility difficulties within most of the hospital buildings.

By Tenia
 

 

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