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31.03.2006 Health

Ho Municipal Hospital in shambles

By GNA

Ho, March 31, 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, low morale of workers and this has resulted in clients seeking treatment in other to other facilities in and around the municipality.

This was the picture gathered when Dr Kofi Normanyo, Acting Medical Superintendent, briefed journalists 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.

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

There is no lavatory at 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, said.

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 that were dripping water from the embedded plumbing works.

He said electricity to the theatre had to be disconnected and work suspended because of sparks of light emanating from 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 that 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. He appealed for the support of the traditional authorities, individuals and organizations to save the hospital from collapse.

Dr Andrew Arde-Acquah, Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) who came at the close of the tour, also called for 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 landowners 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 is paying 2.1 billion cedis to some families as compensation for land on which the facility stands.

Dr Ardey-Acquah said 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, said the deteriorating state of the Municipal Hospital had resulted in patients' flight from there to the tertiary Regional Hospital. He 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. 31 March 06

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