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17.11.2005 General News

Blackout at K’bu - Surgery with flashlight

By Chronicle
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The nation's premier hospital, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), has been hard hit with a power outage, which has affected the delivery of health service at very sensitive departments of the hospital, including its recently commissioned ultra modern administration block.

The power outage, which was detected on Thursday, November 10th 2005, has cut off power supply to departments, including the Children's Block, Burns and Plastic surgery, Maternity Block and the Burkitts Tumor at the mothers' hostel.

Despite the fact that technicians of the hospital are strenuously working around the clock to rectify the problem, the situation is said to be gravely affecting effective and efficient health delivery, since new patients who go to the affected departments, are, by virtue of the pertaining situation, referred to other health facilities.

The Labour Ward of the Maternity Block seem to have been hard-hit by the power outage, since information gathered by the paper's source close to the facility has it that last Friday, for instance, a doctor was compelled by the prevailing circumstance to perform an operation with a flashlight in order to save life.

Sources further hinted that the situation has left hospital authorities without an option, but rather compelled them to refer some new patients to the 37 Military Hospital, Ridge and the Labadi polyclinic, where they received treatment.

This reporter has been monitoring events at the hospital, since the outage occurred last week and can say with certainty that one of the hospital's transformers, which supply power to those departments, is down as it said to have blown.

Indications are that, the new administration block, which has a lot of electrical fittings with a high consumption rate, could be the cause of the problem, since it has added to the load on the transformer.

A visitor to the hospital would not recognize the place as a medical facility, as there are virtually no lights at even the main entrance during the night as in the other departments.

This paints a darkened picture of the hospital, especially at night when the administration block, which is the latest edifice in Korle-Bu, standing just by the main Accra-Mamprobi road, is without a single light to brighten the vicinity.

Meanwhile, when this reporter visited the hospital yesterday, to ascertain the level of progress, technicians of the hospitals Electrical department and those from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) were tirelessly working around the clock to rectify the situation.

From what one official of the ECG narrated, the problem cannot be rectified by close of the day but work would extend to the next couple of days.

According to him, it would take an extra effort to bring the situation to normalcy, since the load on the transformer was more than it could carry.