01.06.2005 Regional News

Fund launched for Korle-Bu Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit

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Accra, June 1, GNA - A Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Fund to assist in the payment of medical bills of insolvent parents of babies born at the Unit was on Wednesday launched in Accra with a call on Ghanaians to have a collective responsibility to help to save lives of innocent babies.

Dr Gladys Norley Ashitey, a Deputy Minister of Health, said many pregnant women did not attend antenatal clinics thereby creating problems for newborn babies.

The fund initiated by the Hospital has an initial amount of 50 million cedis donated by Ghana National Trust Fund. The fund was launched after 36 new babies, who were detained because their parents were not able to pay their hospital bills, were released only after a philanthropist came to their aid by paying some 150 million cedis.

Dr Ashitey said statistics from the Hospital indicated that about 40 per cent of the mothers at the unit who were treated were not able to pay their bills resulting in the detention of their innocent babies. "The Ministry and the Hospital would have wished to treat and discharge all the poor free, but facilities at the unit also need to be maintained and even the little they are charged, some still find it difficult to pay," she noted.

She commended the Hospital for the brilliant initiative and urged the authorities to strengthen the Social Welfare Department to conduct credible research and come out with a standard criterion for the determination of who should benefit from the fund. Dr Ashitey on behalf of the Ministry pledged 10 million cedis to the fund.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Chief Executive of the Hospital, said the fund was just a supplement to help the needy and also to help the staff of the unit to improve upon their skills. He said there were about 25 more new babies at the unit whose mothers had abandoned them for their inability to pay their medical bills waiting for another saviour to come to their aid. He called on other institutions and organisations to support the fund to save the lives of poor babies who through no fault of theirs found themselves detained by the Hospital.

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