Our impact: Health regulator in Ghana probes activities of two facilities after investigative report

On Tuesday, May 30, 2023, the authorities in Ghana announced they had launched an investigation into the activities of two health facilities in the capital, Accra following the release of an investigative report by The Fourth Estate, MFWA’s accountability journalism project.

The report blew the cover off a quack midwife and her shocking trail of deaths and malpractices at the two health facilities.

The Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA) told Joy FM, a private radio station based in Accra, that it had dispatched a team to the facilities, New Generation Medical Centre and the Adam Family Specialist Clinic, to determine the culpability of management in the horrendous obstetric practices that led to the death of at least two babies.

“This is pretty bad, and it is unfortunate that it went on without someone noticing and stopping it earlier than that. But once we’re involved, we’ll make the necessary referrals and we’ll discipline both the ownership and management of the facilities,” Dr. Philip Banor, the Registrar of HeFRA, told Joy FM on Tuesday.

The jolt to action follows a series of stories by The Fourth Estate an accountability journalism project of the Media Foundation for West Africa, on the activities of a quack midwife, Francisca Quaye alias Matron Gaga.

Ms Quaye took up employment with the Adam Family Specialist Clinic after she lost her job with the New Generation Medical Center.

Through the stories, it has come to light that she had practised as a midwife without either training or license for more than 30 years. In this period, she has been the instrument of numerous medical accidents, with two infanticides at her hands happening at the New Generation Medical Centre and the Adam Family Specialist Clinic within 11 months.

HeFRA’s dispatch of investigators to these two health facilities, both located in the South Odorkor Estates in Accra, is so that these deaths and other malpractices by Matron Gaga can be probed.

Also, Dr. Philip Bannor has served notice that the culpability of the Managers of the Hospital will lead to sanctions, possibly, the revocation of operating licenses.

Meanwhile, the Matron herself is on the run from the law.

Impactful story

HeFRA’s spring into action is just part of the melee of activities that have been stirred up by the story. Already, it has been announced that the Police will receive an official complaint about Matron Gaga, which is expected to lead to a manhunt for her.

As the story has exposed gaping loopholes in HeFRA’s monitoring system, it is expected that, eventually, the Agency will review and update its operations to better monitor health facilities in the country.

Meanwhile, in the media, the story has been dominating the news headlines, with major media outlets, including Accra-based JoyNews publishing it online.

JoyNews has also since screened an accompanying video documentary on its network, including its YouTube channel.

About The Fourth Estate

The Fourth Estate is a non-profit public interest and accountability journalism project of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA). It aims to promote independent, well-researched and critical investigative journalism.

In May 2023, the Executive Director of the MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, was named the 2023 recipient of the coveted Eisenhower Fellows’ Impact Award by US-based Eisenhower Fellowships (EF) in recognition of his successful establishment and operation The Fourth Estate.

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