CPA to sue health ministry over ‘unapproved’ toilet levies in public hospitals
The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has dared to sue the Ministry of Health if it has failed to halt management of the Korlebu Teaching Hospital including other public hospitals in the country from wanton collection of ‘unproved levies’ from patients upon use of toilet facility in hospitals.
The Agency has therefore given a -21-day ultimatum period to the newly administration of the Ministry of Health to see to the closure of the “illegal act”.
This follows an attempt by the CPA to stop the Ministry of Health from allowing the Korlebu Teaching Hospital including some government hospitals in the country from charging a sum of GH₵ 50 pesewas from patients as a toilet fees.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Consumer Protection Agency, Kofi Kapito, the move has become necessary despite every effort to reach the authorities to put a stop to the ‘dastard act’ which has crippled many patients including pregnant women since last year.
He said he personally wrote to the former Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe as well as the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah- Denkyira including other health authorities that matters but upon assurance that the matter will be dealt with yet nothing concrete has come out of it.
As a result, scores of patients have had to battle with the situation on daily basis after their incessant complains have gone unheeded.
But addressing a press conference in Accra on Thursday, February 2, 2016, Kofi Kapito said “I’m giving the new Minister of Health 21 days if the practice did not stop, they will see me in court because nobody is allowed to carry an illegal act”.
“The act should be made to stop at once and all the monies collected should be accounted for immediately” he added.
The CEO maintains the act is ripe at Korlebu especially within the maternity ward, OPD ward including the eye clinic area where patients including even pregnant women are asked to pay an amount of GH₵30 pesewas for urinal and additional GH₵ 20 pesewas for toilet.
He noted upon visiting the Korlebu on one occasion, he observed the act was going on which prompted him to demand an explanation form the Deputy Director of Korlebu only to be told that it has become necessary for them to charge patients because they needed money to buy cleaning materials and others to maintain the toilet facility.
“We cannot live in a country where patients or family members go to the hospital and they are asked to pay to use toilet” Kofi lamented.
According to Kofi, no government institution by law is permitted to levy the people of Ghana without the approval of parliament. “So why would any manager go and hide with his heads to perpetrate an illegal act” he wondered.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Agency is also urging Parliament to reject any bill put before him seeking for approval of levy on toilet facilities within public hospitals across the country.
By Joseph Kobla Wemakor/GhanaNewsOne.Com