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06.04.2004 Regional News

Suhum Hospital Collapsing

By Halifax Nii Ansah-Addo, AIJC
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The Suhum Government Hospital is on the verge of collapse, despite the abundance of HIPC funds "everywhere".

One of the indications of the collapse is its 46-year-old mortuary facility, which has finally given up the ghost, forcing the adoption of a strange method of preserving corpses that most Ghanaians refuse to patronize, leading to massive loss of revenue.

A highly placed source (name withheld) at the hospital disclosed: "The fridges at the mortuary finally broke down beyond repairs about eight months ago after undergoing repairs for almost 50 years. We then adopted the dry embalmment method of preserving bodies; here formaline is infused into the body of the corpse. People are not familiar with this system and do not patronise it. This has cost us over ¢100 million in revenue loss."

Our source estimated the cost of one fridge, for the mortuary, to be around £16,000 (sixteen thousand pounds).

The Suhum hospital is so congested that some patients sleep on verandas. Additionally, the building has leaking roofs and the laboratory and pharmacy lack basic equipment. This reporter visited the hospital after a rainfall, and it was pathetic seeing drenched patients huddling in corners: Rainwater had gushed into every single ward through the porous roofs.

The Heritage learnt that the hospital was established in 1958, originally as a clinic but has over the years been upgraded into a district hospital.

"The upgrading of the hospital came without the provision of the necessary facilities. The facilities we had in 1958 as a clinic are inadequate for a district hospital in such an accident prone area", our Deep Throat said.

A tour of the hospital by this reporter revealed that for lack of space, patients with isolated cases are kept on the verandas and have no where to hide when it rains. The children's ward and maternity ward, as well as the female and male wards are not only over congested but also suffer from roof leakages when it rains.

The nurses then mop the floor to prevent the gushing rain water from flooding the wards. The most miserable of all is the children's ward.

The hospital compound is not fenced, thus all sorts of people freely parade the place, disturbing patients, littering the compound and constituting a security threat. Recently, a mentally retarded person invaded the laboratory, which already lacks very basic equipment.

A senior nurse (name withheld) reiterated the lack of facilities in the hospital: "Suhum is an accident prone area and almost everyday, we receive accident cases but we have no casualty unit; we are very handicapped".

According to the source, constant reports to the Health Service Department (Ministry of Health) have yielded no results. However, some efforts are being made by the MP for the area, Mr. Ransford Yaw Agyepong to renovate and expand the theatre.

The hospital has a total of 58 nurses at post, 10 ward assistants, three doctors and one medical assistant.

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