Some health officials in the Western Region have responded to claims that they charged some victims of the unfortunate Appiatse explosion despite the government having covered the cost of treatment of all the victims.
Explaining to the media on Friday in a response to the allegations, the Western Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services, Dr. Yaw Ofori Yeboah, stated that, out of the 348 victims that were being taken care of at various health facilities in the region; only two had their relatives purchasing some essential items and medicine that were in short supply at some of the health centres.
He assured that the Western Regional Health Service is committed to providing free healthcare to all the victims of the disaster.
“The Health Service facilities have so far attended to 348 victims and I can confirm that the victims are currently receiving free medical treatment. Unfortunately, we run out of some essential items, such as orthopaedic plates and some critical drugs. Relatives of two out of the 348 cases who have attended our facilities procured these items from private sources during the emergency.”
“The Regional Health Directorate under my leadership has already directed the facilities involved to refund the expenditure incurred to the families and rather include them in the bills being collated for reimbursement. I wish to reiterate the government’s decision to offer free care to accident victims. All the Ghana Health Services facilities in the region will continue to offer free care to the accident victims in accordance with the declaration by the Vice President“, he said.
Flanked by the Deputy Western Regional Director of Health, Dr. Gifty Amugi and the Medical Director of Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, the Western Regional Director of Health Services however failed to deny or confirm if the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital is one of the hospitals that made patients pay for logistics and medicine.
“All but two of the cases have either been discharged or stable in our hospitals. We however lost two of the victims, one at the Tarkwa Government Hospital and the other at Wassa Akropong Hospital. The victims in admission are currently receiving quality care in our facilities which includes three(3) at Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, some at Tarkwa Hospital, some attending OPD at Bogoso Health Centre and Wassa Akropong Government Hospital“, he added.
As a measure to speed up the recovery process, the Western Regional Director of Health also revealed that his outfit has established a health post at the internally displaced persons’ site at Bogoso to provide essential primary care services to the people, while psycho-social support is also being arranged for survivors and their relatives with a team of E&T specialists also sent to conduct a hearing assessment as about 40 people have reported some hearing challenges.
At least 14 people died, and several others were injured in the explosion, which occurred on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
The explosion is believed to have been caused by a collision between a vehicle transporting explosives to a mining site and a tricycle. The truck that was involved in the explosion was heading to Chirano Gold Mines.
The government is currently probing the incident.