Congestion, barrier to efficient healthcare service at KATH

Kumasi, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the nation’s second largest referral facility, has been serving the health needs of people not only in the Northern sector of the country, parts of the Western and Eastern Regions, but other neighboring countries.

The location of Kumasi as a vital trade, business and cultural hub and the niche the hospital has carved for itself as centre of excellence in health care delivery, makes it the preferred referral point for many health facilities across Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and others.

This, without doubt is a recognition of the quality of care to patients. The facility, in spite of this has continued to struggle with inadequate space and equipment.

The twin challenge of lack of space and the needed equipment has not been helpful to the efficient operation of the facility.

Dr. Oheneba Owusu Danso, acting Chief Executive, in a recent interaction with journalists in Kumasi, acknowledged this.

Complaints, lamentations and appeals by the management of the hospital to various governments to help complete abandoned projects at the hospital to provide sufficient space, had gone unheeded.

High maternal and neo-natal deaths, especially at the child and maternal unit of the hospital, have been blamed on severe congestion at the unit.

Congestion at KATH has been widely reported in the media but appropriate response and action by the government to resolve the problem is yet to be seen.

It is heartwarming that the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo Addo, has shown the way through the mobilization of financial resources from individuals and corporate organizations to build a new child and mother unit for the hospital.

The US$10 million project has now been completed and is expected to be inaugurated later this month.

It should however be appreciated that the challenge of congestion would not go away if determined efforts are not made to complete the numerous stalled projects at the hospital.

Among these is the huge 999 bed maternal and child health block, started by former Head of State, General Kutu Acheampong in 1974.

The completion of this project, together with the 20-year-old administration block complex, would mark a turning point for the hospital.

Dr. Owusu Danso says the completion of the 43-year-old block, is critical to efficient healthcare delivery at the hospital.

One wonders why such a facility, initiated by the late General Acheampong in those days to create convenient environment for mothers and their children should be left uncompleted for so long.

General Acheampong rightly foresaw in those days that Ghana’s population was going to increase and KATH would face congestion in some years to come, so he decided to start the gigantic block.

It is deeply upsetting and regrettable that after more than four decades the project is yet to be completed while congestion at the facility worsens.

There are also the added problems of ageing and obsolete equipment and infrastructure.

The oxygen plant has been down for years and has not been replaced forcing the hospital authorities to buy oxygen from vendors at a higher cost.

There certainly could be a co-relation between the high rate of deaths at the hospital, especially among in-patients and emergency cases, and the congestion, obsolete equipment and inadequate consumables.

The rate of deaths among patients is becoming a source of worry to many people. The daily pitiful sight of people wailing uncontrollably in front of the hospital for the loss of their relatives, should be a call to action by the government.

It should as a matter of urgency, take a bold and decisive decision to look for funds to complete all the stalled projects to create the right working environment for doctors, nurses and other health professionals to save lives.

Source: Ghana News Agency


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