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29.04.2009 Health

The Resurgence of Ho Municipal Hospital

By A GNA Feature by Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi
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Ho, April 29, GNA - From a state of near collapse in 2006, the Ho Municipal Hospital inaugurated in 1927 has bounced back as the first choice health facility for people in the Municipality.

Fresh blood has been injected into the Hospital bringing it back to the state of a preferred health facility with a better working attitude of workers.

Until April 2006, many inhabitants including politicians had written the Hospital off in view of its deteriorating infrastructure among other uninspiring multiple factors.

The non-functioning of the theatre and mortuary reduced the status of the Hospital to that of a clinic because there was little activity after work at the Out Patient Department (OPD) with less than 90 OPD attendances daily. Admissions fell drastically with percentage drug availability hovering around 50 per cent, meaning that prescriptions had to be taken to private pharmacists many a time.

The Hospital environment presented a story of its own with choked gutters, overgrown weeds with plastic and polythene wastes, wards decorated with cobwebs with dead bodies left in wards for more than 24 hours.

These perhaps necessitated the shifting of attention from the Municipal Hospital to the newly constructed Volta Regional Hospital also known as “Trafalgar” with the hacking off by half the staff of the human resource strength of the Municipal Hospital to constitute the initial staff strength of the Regional Hospital.

The Municipal Hospital became virtually lifeless as patients started packing and leaving the facility for their homes claiming that their homes were more hygienic than the Hospital and that they preferred to die in their homes than at the Hospital.

In the midst of that frustration, came a new Management in the middle of 2006 headed by Dr Kofi Gafatsi Normanyo, which invested in the Ho Mutual Health Insurance Scheme with the registration of some patients to reduce the number of patients, who absconded after receiving treatment.

That investment yielded great dividends and gave the facility a lifeline enabling the new management to among other things to revive the theatre which had become almost dysfunctional.

The management again borrowed money from the Hospital's staff welfare fund to repair and reactivate the 82-year old mortuary in September 2007.

Haunted by frequent media reportage and complaints of poor health worker - patient relations, the authorities initiated series of staff training workshops to re-orientate staff on quality patient care. These have yielded results since the hospital staffs now render service beaming with smile, confidence and radiating hope to patients.

Dr Normanyo said the management ensured that staff picked up the right signals through regular training on attitude, knowing that without good attitude people would not patronise the facility.

Since then, the song has changed with people rushing from all walks of life to the onetime referral Hospital with pressure on staff who had to be fed while working due to the pressure.

Dr Normanyo said the pressure compelled the authorities to request the services of locum doctors- doctors on leave from other health institutions, to ease the pressure and reduce waiting-time.

He hinted that currently over 500 patients visit the Hospital each day compared to 60 previously.

Dr Normanyo said the growth of clientele is driven by the Hospital's Strategic Plan aimed at depending on its own resources to ensure customer satisfaction.

He said the Hospital now has a total of five doctors and was “prudently managing its finances” to invest in infrastructure and create good environment befitting a Municipal Hospital.

“We have started renovating the maternity wards and hope to extend it to other wards very soon, the OPD and bring our kitchen back to life by the end of April,” the Medical Superintendent said.

He said the Hospital was also modernizing its record keeping with the installation of computers in consulting rooms and the wards to make data retrieval and processing of insurance claims easy.

Dr Normanyo expressed the hope that the Hospital's five-year strategic plan would by 2013 put the facility at a top level among other Hospitals offering an “individual client-focused holistic quality service with the heart of love, understanding and harmony”.

He said the main challenge, however, remained the delay in payment of National Health Insurance claims and called on stakeholders to support the facility.

GNA

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