Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SAD STORY revisited

Ko fie na ko wu. (Go and die at home). by Calorius.

I am sure the British officials know very well that dialysis is not easily available in Ghana. It's a case of ko fie na ko wu and this is not the first time such a thing is coming up.

Last year, there was the very famous story of a Nepalese gentleman who had fought very bravely in the world war in Burma as a member of her majesty's forces. This guy had risked his life, doing things like charging a Japanese machine gun post singlehandedly, and had saved the lives of several of her majesty's subjects, Britons. After the war, they decorated him like nothing- several medals, that kind of thing.

Well, in his 80's or 90's he developed complications of diabetes and applied for a visa to enter Britain so he could have treatment which was not available in his part of Nepal. They turned him down, over and over again. Even the descendants of the British soldiers whose lives he had saved, made several appeals for him, and a lot of money was raised for his upkeep so there was no question about his becoming a taxpayer's burden. Interestingly, he had visited Britain earlier on a visitor’s visa to receive his medals and special awards.

It became a big story, with lots of famous politicians weighing in with their opinions. Eventually the British Asylum & Immigration Minister stepped in and he was let into the country. I believe they know very well what the consequences are when leniency is not granted on medical grounds for such cases. Of course, there are the other arguments about if you make one exception the floodgates will open.

I think one needs a heart of steel to be an immigration official, and also to be on medical insurance determination panel, prison parole board, etc. These are “tough” jobs; I couldn't do it, because as Pat Thomas would put it, I have a heart in my belly.

One criterion for waiving section 212b of the J-visa to allow an exchange visitor to remain in the USA after his training is extreme hardship, including medical problems. However, it only applies if the extreme hardship would be suffered by a US citizen, not the visa holder. I know someone with renal failure and a kidney transplant who was turned down and had to earn his waiver another way. They explained to him that the fact that he would likely die if he returned to Ghana was not the issue.

Remember the movie The Fugitive when the Tommy Lee Jones character meets Harrison Ford in the tunnel, mano a mano, the fugitive Ford, who has the gun, says to Jones "I didn't kill my wife". It's obvious he is telling the truth; after all he's just spared Jones' life. Jones looks him in the eye and says "I don't care." Their job is not to care; they are there to enforce “the law”. And as you and I know every well, the Law is incapable of saving anyone. Redemption requires something better, grace. - Calorius

Related post: A SAD SITUATION

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Anonymous Annang said...

Bad publicity? It depends on who you ask. The British government is pandering to the anti-immigrant feeling among some voters. I think it reckons that though a few of middle classes might be appalled by that publicity, thousands of others, especially the "man in the street" (to quote JJ Rawlings; I don't have a Pat Thomas quote at hand!) are applauding.

I agree with the A-Warrior about the Ghanaian government. Renal disease has become very common problem in Ghana, and only last month, one very bright 38yr old girl we knew died from chronic renal failure. Apart from the delay in diagnosis, there wasn’t enough money for dialysis. Some people resort to herbal treatment which only speeds the death. It is a horrible thing for our countrymen.

It amazes me how the IMF & World Bank can say that we should remove our health subsidies as part of those structural adjustment programmes. I sometimes wonder if doctors in Ghana should have refused to accept this "money first then treatment" system, threatened to strike over it and insisted that the sick and infirm deserve treatment whether rich or poor, a more humane system would have emerged!

January 25, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

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