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27.04.2009 Health

Minister of Health calls for a high sense of maintenance culture

By gna
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Accra, April 27, GNA – Dr. George Sipa-Adja Yankey, Minister of Health,

has charged hospital administrators to ensure a high level of maintenance and servicing culture to help increase the lifespan of their equipment.

He said most of the equipment and infrastructure that had either broken down or were in bad shape and needed replacement could have lasted longer had periodic maintenance or proper attention been paid to them.

Dr Yankey was speaking on Monday at the beginning of a five-day familiarization tour of Agencies and Departments under the Ministry of Health (MOH).

He said the poor culture of maintenance in most state institutions, especially the health sector, often led to non-performance due to the poor

state of infrastructure and equipment.
The Health Minister said government was committed to ensuring quality health care delivery and would do all it could to support the development and maintenance of such infrastructure so that they would last.

The Minister earlier visited the Korle-bu Polyclinic, which runs a 24-hour service but has pressing needs including poor water supply, constant power outages, overcrowding as well as poor ventilation in the wards.

Dr David Nortey, Head of the Korle-bu Polyclinic, complained about the constant interruption of electricity supply, saying it hampered work and had damaged most of their equipment.

He also appealed to the MOH for funding for the construction of a quarantine ward since that ward had been taken over by HIV/AIDS patients at the Fevers Unit.

Dr Nortey said this was urgent because at the peak of an epidemic, such during outbreak of cholera season, the centre faced great challenges of containing the large number of cases reported each day and had to improvise wards for them.

He also complained about the low ceiling of the various wards, which allowed very little ventilation and appealed for support to enable the ceiling to be raised.

At the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital Maternity block, Dr Yankey commended the hospital administration for responding to an ultimatum to ensure that at least one of the two broken down elevators was repaired and made operational immediately. By Monday, one of the two elevators was working.

The 18 year-old elevator at the maternity block of the hospital had completely broken down making work and access to and from the wards very difficult.

Dr Yankey called for the placement of servicing personnel at the elevator to ensure constant repairs and its smooth running, while procurement processes started for the replacement of 13 elevators for all units of the hospital.

Professor Yao Kwawkume, Head, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, urged the hospital administration to grant the various units some level of semi-autonomy to enable them to maintain equipment and facilities instead of relying solely on the central administration for all funding and maintenances.

“We would be in a better position to handle petty servicing and maintenance of equipment so that we do not need to wait for long periods to go through the various bureaucratic processes that often delay procurement processes,” he said.

Dr Nicodamus Gebe, Head Para-Medical Engineering Unit, Ghana Health Service, told the Minister that the hospital was currently relying on L'Air Liquide Ghana Limited for oxygen supply for patients since the oxygen concentrated plant was facing problems due to the constant power cuts by ECG.

He explained that the plants which were installed in 1998 and 2003 currently faced serious breakdown and would take time to repair, therefore the decision to rely on bottled oxygen from L'Air Liquide.

Dr Gebe said the oxygen concentrated plants, which were to produce a normal level of 95 per cent oxygen, fell as low as 41 per cent, creating serious problems for patients.

He said this situation forced the Department of Anaesthesia to order a stop of all surgical operations for at least 72 hours to allow for other alternative solutions to the problem.

Dr Gebe advised the hospital administration to consider the offer of L'Air Liquide to install a metered tank of pure oxygen, which would be connected through pipes to the various units.

“This is a new and best technology that also guarantees quality and reliable oxygen supply,” he said.

GNA

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