Public Response: Ghana and the ‘begging culture’

Responses to my piece: Ghana and the ‘begging culture’

1st person

Exactly this happened yesterday as I arrived at the airport. There should be a stop for this. Everywhere u go people ask for money for the work they are paid for. We have become a country of beggars

2nd person

Hmm i was soo ashamed at the Airport when l Visited home With my Kids, a custom officer asked me to give him kwansoade3
My son Who understands twi asked me later why he did that, and said is good i did not give him anything

3rd person

Sad reality
I remember some years back, I needed six million (as we called it those time) to add up to my money and pay my fees at the university. I was working and schooling by then.
I had no option than to request for a loan from a financial institution because the money will be given to me the same day and they will not deduct processing fee and they will even bring it to your door step. But the interest was cute high.
This guy after giving the money when done with the required process asked me to give him something.
I told him that myself am not even going to buy even a sachet water from the money, it’s meant for a purpose, this guy got very angry and to my surprise my friends around at the time supported him, that the guy came all the way from Accra and Grant me loan so at least I should show appreciation. I don’t know why I should show appreciation for a loan with that huge interest when the officer is paid and given commission on every loan that he process

Posted by a medical doctor on the Ghana Medical Association Google page:

Dr Effah,

I had a different experience at the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi. 

I was admitted to the ICU after a surgical procedure for 3 days. The team of doctors and nurses who attended to me were excellent. On my discharge from the hospital, i passed by the ICU to thank the team that took care of me. I had a personal nurse assigned to and I put $200 in an envelope to give to her on my own volition. I was surprised she refused.  I insisted and she told me she will be fired if she accepted the money.

I agree with your sentiments about workers extorting money for services rendered, that not acceptable. However, i think if the counterfactual of if i was in a hospital in Ghana & i gave the envelope, it would have been accepted. The morale of my long story is that, our cultural & social norms also have a role to play


5th person

The list continues:
During high school, I received a small one-off scholarship from our district assembly. I wrote the application letter myself, when it was finally approved, someone who works at the assembly was given the cash to give to my Mum. This man was in the same church as me and knew the challenges my family faces, necessitating the scholarship support. Yet, when he insisted (almost cajoled my Mum) to (1) take a photo that shows him in a handshake with my mum, envelope in hand, to show he did his job by giving us the money. My mum had to use some of that money to pay for the photo. (2) He took my mum and a few others to a drinking spot and asked my mum to use some of the money to buy beer for the group. Thant was how he wanted to be “appreciated”. His reason was that he deserved to be appreciated because someone had mentioned at the district assembly office during the scholarship screening process that our household was NDC (NPP was in power then), and he had to do a lot of lobbying on our behalf.
I was surprised, angry, and also ashamed for him, to hear he did that.

6th person (a Muslim)

A bad culture….worse in the muslim community….apart from the calls for money, some do it so openly on the streets as if begging is part of Islam. The prophet of Islam condemned it

7th person (works at the airport)

Very Interesting and sad at the same time
This issue has been addressed many times, we even play extortion announcements in the airport. They are many posters around too that even express to the passengers to not pay for any extra services

8th person (works in the USA)

Doc, over here too we are not allowed to accept gifts so it should be a policy in Ghana for all professions and it should also be taught at schools.

Responses to my piece: Ghana and the ‘begging culture’

9th person (A Medical Superintendent in a hospital in Ghana)

We need a system reboot.

When I assumed post at my facility in 2019, they had an issue with NHIS. When I looked into it, someone at the HQ in Accra was demanding 10-15% of the facility’s reimbursements owed before they worked the clog out…

My refusal to pay was delaying the rebursements.

Being thick-skinned, I didn’t give them a pesewa.

You are paid to do your job. Just do it.

10th person (Head of Human Resources Department in a hospital in Ghana)

Like monies taken by people at the ministries to process New Entrant forms.
I tried stopping it with the enrolled nurses that came and they were delayed till we paid.

11th person (I have permission from him to share this)

You have opened fire!!! It is every corner of the country.

  • The NHIS issue described by the medical superintendent, I experienced same/similar as medical superintendent. Those of us who refused, had ours scrutinised and cut down, some bills refused etc. So do we wonder why the NHIS is “an apology of a health insurance” though huge monies accrue to it(not the paid premiums but all goods and services plus import duties)? Those at HQ, Regional and District Level get rich at the expense of the health institutions.
  • There was DONOR POOLED FUNDS in GHS (DPF). Every medical superintendent was to send appreciation to the “Regional Health Directorate” when money arrived. I didn’t know this so I instructed my administrators to do a budget covering the amount. The money was already far less than planned expenditure. OUR NEXT DPF delayed by 6months because the region “didn’t see what we did with the previous DPF” . The elaborate budget plus invoices, receipts, assets etc WAS NEVER ENOUGH EXPLANATION. I was fresh from Korlebu, a day after housejob, no idea about politics and I saw it all wrong. My luck was, I VOLUNTARILY WENT TO THE HOSPITAL DIRECTLY FROM KORLE BU, WHEN NO DOCTOR WANTED TO GO THERE. I WAS NOT POSTED THERE BY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, rather he was instructed by Dr ………, then HRD to send me there because I wanted there. So NOBODY COULD MANIPULATE ME EASILY.
    All other medical superintendents would always have to show “appreciation” to region, else you get transfered.

Chat with an official (who works) at the National Health Insurance Authority (X):

[15/04, 08:00] X: Very disturbing. I wish I could follow up on the issue raised by the 9th person. If he wouldn’t mind and give details, it will be very helpful

[15/04, 08:01] X: I can give the person all the assurances that he wants but will need him/her to be willing to give details that will identify the persons involved. We need to weed out such people

[15/04, 19:06] X: Can this one also help with some specifics? We need to weed out the bad nuts

[15/04, 19:09] X: Where the incident happened, when and if possible, some of the personalities involved

[15/04, 19:10] X: As it stands now, I have almost nothing to work on. We get these accusations but when you want to take action, people fail to help with some details

[15/04, 19:15] Effah: I will ask both of them.
Hopefully they will be ready to get in touch with you with more details.
I protect the anonymity of those who send me messages and give me permission to share.
That is why I am able to get a lot of experiences across which you will not get on other platforms.

[15/04, 19:18] X: I understand you perfectly well. But sometimes, we need people to help us know the bad nuts within so we can call them out

12th person

A simple way to stop these things is to use undercover agents. When service providers don’t know who is who they will not ask for favors. This is a cheap and very effective way to check graft.

13th person

Last month my husband and I traveled to the Western Region. On our way back to Accra, we decided to stop at a fufu joint bi on the Gomoa road. There was a police patrol there and I told him they will later stop us to demand for money
Truly while attempting to join the main road after eating, they stopped us. Said they had been standing in the sun for long and we had gone to eat fufu 😂😂
Boss the policemen werent willing to let us go till we gave them Gh20 to also go and enjoy fufu during their lunch break…

Boss 5th year medical school, i was traveling to the UK for an exchange programme.
I was pushing my trolley with my luggage until a porter offered to help.
When we got to where I had to check in, I decided to give him Gh5 back then(2013), he told me if I won’t give him dollars or pounds I should forget it and I said cool…
I walked away and left him standing there😂🤣

Now that these disturbing issues are coming up in our health system, I think we must ask some of the ‘difficult questions’ that have been disturbing hospital administrators and medical superintendents but have been pushed under the carpet for many years:

  1. Do Catholic Hospitals in Ghana have to pay money to the Church/Bishop/Archbishop even when they are struggling financially and in debt, because the National Health Insurance Scheme, for example, is in arrears for many months, and some hospitals have to borrow money/owe suppliers to keep running?
  2. If the answer to (1) is yes, what happens if some hospitals decide not to pay the money?
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