25
Sun, Aug
8 New Articles

PAEDIATRIC CARE IN GHANA GETS BOOST: FIRST LADY OPENS NEW KORLE-BU UNIT

Health & Lifestyle

For the first time in its 96 years of existence, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital can boast of a paediatric and intensive care unit (PICU) which will give a big boost to childcare services in Ghana. The new unit has come courtesy of the Rebecca Foundation, led by First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

For the first time in its 96 years of existence, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital can boast of a paediatric and intensive care unit (PICU) which will give a big boost to childcare services in Ghana. The new unit has come courtesy of the Rebecca Foundation, led by First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

Although the hospital has a children’s health department, which has an emergency ward for initial stabilisation of seriously ill patients, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for sick newborns, a babies’ unit and three wards for children, the facilities are in a deplorable state.

The newly built paediatric and intensive care unit, which was commissioned yesterday by Mrs Akufo-Addo, replaces all the old facilities.

The emergency ward has not seen any renovation since it was built in the 1960s, even though it has an outpatient attendance of 30,000 and makes 6,000 admissions yearly.

The facility

Named the Rebecca Akufo-Addo Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, the facility consists of a 21-bed NICU and a 20-bed PICU.

The new 41-bed PICU/NICU facility was constructed by African Building Partners and uses state-of-the-art technology.

It is fitted with the latest equipment to ensure efficient health service delivery for patients and is a friendly and comfortable working environment for the medical and ancillary staff.

The facility is also home to a clinical laboratory, clinical pharmacy and office, main reception with staff rest area, staff training and meeting rooms, as well as changing rooms, all fitted with disability-friendly toilet and bathing facilities.

Also significant is the green technology built into the structure. The facility is equipped with solar geysers, a 48-panel photovoltaic system with two invertors and battery storage.

To enhance security and for better monitoring of patients, integrated services have been introduced, such as a fire detection and alarm system, CCTV, access control at critical doors, nurse call systems and data points at all PICU beds, staff and nurse stations.

A promise kept

Delivering the keynote address at the commissioning yesterday, Mrs Akufo-Addo said the project fulfils a promise she made to the hospital in 2017 to help fix the challenging conditions facing the children’s department.

Having visited the department, she was aware of the limited space and inadequate equipment, resulting in delays and avoidable deaths.

“After extensive discussions with the management of Korle-Bu, we learned that in all its 96 years, Korle-Bu has never had a paediatric intensive care unit.

“We knew then that we had to give them one, but we decided to go further and build a facility that also has a neonatal intensive care unit and a high dependency unit.

“Work earnestly began and today, it is my joy and the joy of the hospital to commission this modern, fully equipped facility for our children,” the First Lady said.

Mrs Akufo-Addo decried the poor maintenance culture which contributed in no small way to the poor state of much infrastructure at the hospital.

“I have in the past 29 months visited many health facilities. The story of broken-down equipment, lack of spare or replacement parts, and broken-down infrastructure is all too pervasive. We have to change this narrative,” she said.

Proper planning

In this regard, she called for more detailed planning to guide administrators in determining the resources needed to provide the quality of health care desired, as well as train staff to match global trends in health service delivery.

“Biomedical engineering is pushing the frontiers of medicine in a way that is incredible,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.

“Some inventions that would have been perceived decades ago as simply science fiction have become a reality.

“The world is moving fast in innovative breakthrough medical interventions. We cannot afford to be left behind,” she told guests at the launch.

Joint effort

Mrs Akufo-Addo further urged institutions, NGOs and charities to emulate the work being done by her foundation, and to take steps to help efforts to provide quality health care for all Ghanaians.

She proposed to the management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and similar institutions that they consider establishing endowment funds in order to supplement government subventions and their internally generated funds.

The chairman of the board of directors of the hospital and MP for Ledzokuku, Dr Bernard Oko Boye, thanked Mrs Akufo-Addo and the Rebecca Foundation for responding to the people’s appeal and providing the facility.