22
Fri, Nov

thoughts from afar

  • On a webinar this week about health policy in the developing world, I was asked what I envisaged healthcare in Ghana will look like in 15-20 years. I was initially pensive...

    James Allen in As a Man Thinketh argues, “A strong man cannot help a weaker unless the weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.”

  • “The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general, it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.” James E. Talmage

  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips in Breathing Room argues, “I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can't protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.”

  • As a young student pharmacist, I fell in love with this classical definition of drugs and poisons, “a drug is a poison at low concentrations and a poison is a drug at high concentrations.” That every drug even the most innocuous is a potential killer is a known fact. I have over the years observed how our country has fallen in love with all manner of legal medicines and the ease with which these medicines can be obtained.

  • But, in reality, this must not be a cause for celebration. It is not because, with a population growth rate of 2.25% ...

    Christophe Galfard in his book, The Universe in Your Hand, argues that “a clock that is moving through space at a very fast speed does not tick at the same rate as a slow-moving watch gently attached to your wrist as you stroll on a tropical beach. The idea of a universal time – a godlike clock that could somehow sit outside our universe and measure, in one go, the movement of everything in it, how its evolution unfolds, how old it is and all that – does not exist.”

  • Unfortunately, the reality is, we are a distance away from this form of openness mainly due to our “winner takes all brand of democracy” and must make the best out of our current circumstances.

    “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

  • Dear NHIS,

    You cannot continue to have a high budget for medicines whilst trying to clear your historic debt. No insurance scheme has survived with a recurrent drug budget of more than 28%. To continue that way means you have little of your capital inflows to invest and nothing left to clear your debt.

  • Dear NHIS,
    It’s me again trying to be a citizen helper. I have been wondering why we still have manual claims for pharmaceutical and medical reimbursement and capitation? In this era of computational software and Apps, this can’t just be right.

  • Opinion is that “the world we build tomorrow is born in the stories we tell our children today.” Over this weekend I have been pondering over a question I often ask myself regarding Ghana, i.e. “What have we done so wrong to deserve such a mess?”

  • The fact is, our health system always makes and breaks our hearts. It does because whilst a lot of good goes on, ...

    According to Saidi Mdala, “bad luck is what results when bad things happen to you unprepared, or when you neglect to do what you have to do when you are supposed to do it.”

  • Truth is, as a people we are not by default law abiding. Even when the laws are strictly enforced, we have the penchant for finding ways of breaking them.

    “Instead of fleeing God’s scrutiny, David welcomed it. It’s like he was saying, “Look, God, since I can’t hide from you since you know my very thoughts before I think them, I want you to fully know me. Be in the very core, the essence of my being. If you’re going to know me, then know everything about me!” Will Davis Jr

  • “This light of history is pitiless; it has a strange and divine quality that, luminous as it is, and precisely because it is luminous, often casts a shadow just where we saw a radiance; out of the same man it makes two different phantoms, and the one attacks and punishes the other, the darkness of the despot struggles with the splendour of the captain. Hence a truer measure in the final judgment of the nations. Babylon violated diminishes Alexander; Rome enslaved diminishes Caesar; massacred Jerusalem diminishes Titus. Tyranny follows the tyrant. Woe to the man who leaves behind a shadow that bears his form.”

  • This coupled with a fluctuating Cedi and inflation puts many at the risk of destitution in old age. Ironically, the current financial sector mess makes it even less appealing to suggest otherwise to those who fail to save.

    Ray Bradbury, in The Illustrated Man, explains, “We’re all fools,” said Clemens, “all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.”

  • If we do not, we must be aware that unless we find a way of saving for our old age, stealing from the public coffers to build our geriatric war chest in anticipation of the inevitable or have faith in our ...

    “Man’s lives are not progressions, as conventionally rendered in history paintings, nor are they a series of facts that may be enumerated and in their proper order understood. Rather they are a series of transformations, some immediate and shocking, some so slow as to be imperceptible, yet so complete & horrifying that at the end of his life a man may search his memory in vain for a moment of correspondence between his self in his dotage and him in his youth.”

  • Chaim Potok in Davita's Harp opines, “Everything has a past. Everything; a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.” This is a view I strongly agree with.

  • I would conclude by asking, “if spending potentially 38% of our total health expenditure or 2.4% of our GDP on otherwise useless medicines does not push us to rethink our national approach in this area, what would”?

    Roy T. Bennett in The Light in the Heart argues “Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind.” The 25th of September 2019 was World Pharmacists Day, celebrated this year with the theme “Safe and effective medicines for all.”

  • The youth cannot wait for a yet to be identified appointment time to take over the reins. We are not doing just fine, and that message must be sent without any ambiguity. In fact, it is delusional and deceitful to ...

    The late Alvin Toffler one of the renowned futurists of the twentieth century had this view of how society treated the youth; “The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reins. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely… because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.”

  • In essence, our stupidity is fuelling the malaria economy. I have stated elsewhere that if malaria treatment was a tax, all Ghanaians by default will be tax compliant.

    “Without realizing that the past is constantly determining their present actions, they avoid learning anything about their history. They continue to live in their repressed childhood situation, ignoring the fact that this no longer exists, continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time.”

  • According to Friedrich Nietzsche “A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”

  • Then there is the matter of the security services. Are they trying to tell us that in this day and age, they lack the ability to infiltrate criminal niches? Or am I to believe that because the finger points at deviant white-collar criminals with little respect for the welfare of our citizens, they have also become numb?

    On the 6th of March 1957, Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah opined, “the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.” In that independence speech, he also claimed that “we must change our attitudes and our minds.  We must realise that from now on we are no longer a colonial but free and independent people.”

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