An assessment of the Police Health Services: the case of Kumasi Police Clinic

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In pursuance of the Government’s goal of improving the health of all Ghanaians, the Ghana Police Service invests a considerable amount of its limited resources in its health services unit. The aim is to provide medical and health services to support the General Police Service. The Police health institutions like other health organizations in the country are facing challenges in respect of quality care issues, underutilization of services, decreased funding, shortage of drugs and personnel among others. The conventional approach to addressing most of these issues has been to ask for more resources that has often resulted in marginal or no improvements, because resources are limited. Currently, there has been emphasis on review or assessment studies in the health care industry as it provides an occasion for in-depth information to be collected and analyzed. This provides key decision makers an opportunity to be exposed to the situation in the field and consequently equip them with the requisite knowledge to respond effectively. Despite, the recognized benefit of assessment studies, there has virtually been no detailed study on any of the Ghana Police Health institutions. Consequently, in response to increasing complaints by Police personnel and their dependents about the inadequacy and poor quality of services provided at the Kumasi Police Clinic, the demand for an assessment study could not be ignored in view of the potential benefits of such studies. This study assessed the trend and factors influencing utilization, the common cases seen, current and projected services, and the management of Kumasi Police Clinic. Data required for the study were obtained with the aid of both qualitative and quantitative tools. Available records including clinical registers and returns were examined to obtain data on the trend of utilization. In the utilization of health services survey, 158 respondents were interviewed with the aid of questionnaires by systematic random sampling in eight Police Communities (including the clinic) in the metropolis; data on common cases seen, current and projected services of the clinic were obtained by administering questionnaires to staff; and a checklist was used to assess the management of the facility. The results of the study showed that there has been a drastic decline in utilization of the clinic’s health services within the last three years. The termination of laboratory services and withdrawal of the medical expertise of the doctor were found to be the main reasons underlying the decline in utilization. On the issue of factors influencing respondents utilization of the clinic; 50.1% utilized the Police Clinic because it provides ‘free’ medical care, 20.5% utilized other facilities on the basis of geographical accessibility, 17.5% used other health facilities due to the non-existent services at the Police Clinic and 11.9% had varied reasons for using alternate health services. The clinic was found to be catering for a little over half its targeted population. Majority of the proportion of non- users of the clinic cited the limited service provision as the main reason among others for patronizing other facilities. Based on the common cases seen at the clinic, the current service provision was found inadequate to meet the health needs of its clients. Laboratory, medical doctors, maternal and child health and ambulance services were identified as the projected service requirements. Though the study revealed that the facility was being fairly managed, the quality of care was found to be quite high, despite its limited resources. The study confirmed that the current service provision at the clinic was inadequate and this was a major contributory factor to the decline in utilization of its health services. If adequately funded, better managed, and possibly upgraded to the status of a hospital, the facility would be able to meet fully the expectations of the target population and thus improve its utilization.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award Master of Science in Health Services Planning and Management, 2002