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30.03.2006 General News

Ho Municipal Hospital in poor condition

By GNA

Ho, March 30, GNA - The Ho Municipal Hospital, which is reeling under a myriad of problems, is steadily losing clients and might have to close down if not revamped as a mater of urgency.

The problems include poor infrastructure, tottering morale of workers, which has resulted in a massive desertion of the services there, by clients to other facilities in and around the municipality.

This was the picture painted when Dr. Kofi Normanyo, Acting Medical Superintendent briefed journalist after taking them on a one-and-half hour tour of the 150-bed capacity facility. The hospital, which was built between 1925 and 1927, structurally does not correspond to any hospital design as the various hospital service centres are without any linkage.

For example a patient could only get to the laboratory, which is operated from a walled single-roomed abandoned nurses quarters, tucked behind the Out Patients Parlor after manouvrering over a few gutters. To get into the premises and the rooms, a patient would have to scale five steps.

There is no lavatory anywhere in the vicinity of the Out Patients Department and the consultation rooms are small, poorly ventilated and stuffy.

Buildings have been haphazardly placed, most of them in single room sardine-like fashion with total disregard for access, lightening, ventilation and patient care, Dr Normanyo who had been at post for the past six-months stated.

At the Maternity Ward, entrance to the Delivery Ward slopes so dangerously that Dr Normanyo expressed the fear that expectant mothers being wheeled in, could tip-over.

At the theatre, which had become un-operational since December 2005, Dr Normanyo showed Journalists cracked walls, which were dropping water from the embedded plumbing works.

He said electricity to the theatre had to be disconnected and work suspended because of sparkles of light emanating from conduits carrying electrical wirings.

Dr Normanyo said the hospital, which was supposed to serve 875 communities with an estimated population of 260,000, and had served as the referral hospital for the Volta Region until 1999 when the Regional Hospital was put up, had had no mortuary since 2003. He called for the hospital to be pulled down and re-built with "proper harmonization of service linkages to be of comfort to patients and staff".

Dr Normanyo said while government pondered over how to salvage the hospital which currently "has the finest tradition for Diabetic and Psychiatric Units," measures were being taken to restore the mortuary and theatre services with an initial 30 million cedis donations from staff over a period.

He conceded that the deteriorating state of the hospital had led to some level of staff apathy and poor patient-staff relations. Dr Normanyo said this situation had resulted in the drop of outpatient coverage from 45,000 between 2000 and 2002 to 28,000 in 2005. Dr Normenyo appealed for support of the Traditional Authorities, individuals and organizations to save the hospital from collapse. Dr Andrew Ardey-Acquah, Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) also called for concerted efforts by well-meaning people from the region to get their compatriots with the requisite credentials to come and work in the region.

He also appealed to chiefs and land owners to be magnanimous and offer land for projects and not turn round to demand huge sums of money as in the case of the Regional Hospital where the GHS was currently paying 2.1 billion cedis to some families as compensation for land on which the facility was put up.

Dr Ardey-Acquah announced that the Volta Regional Directorate of the GHS was in discussions with a family at Sokode for land on which Health Personnel posted to the region could put up houses. Mr Mawuko Tsigbey Public Relations Officer of the Ho Municipal Mutual Health Insurance Scheme told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the deteriorating state of the Municipal Hospital had resulted in patient's flight from there to the tertiary Regional Hospital.

He said the Municipal Hospital should have been the "prime Health Service provider under the scheme here, but that is not the case". Mr Tsigbey said managers of the scheme had the option to remove the hospital from the list of approved service providers if service quality continued to fall and if scheme members would simply not go there. 30 March 06

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