10 July 2012

Ghana: Korle-Bu Embarks Upon Infrastructural Dev't

The nation's premier hospital, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), has embarked upon major infrastructure developments and installation of new medical equipment to support the various units and departments of the hospital, as part of its effort to boost healthcare service delivery in the country.

The departments listed for these laudable steps taken by the Chief Executive, Prof. Nii Otu Nartey, are the old Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the Children's Block, the Laundry and Radiology departments.

The rest are the Catering Department, which would be renovated, the out-patients department (OPD), 4th Floor of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department, and the installation of a fiber-optic cable for the hospital's IT.

The three old ICUs, according to the Chief Executive, would be refurbished by the end of the year, while new ones are under construction for the Pediatric Surgical unit and Maternity Block.

He indicated that ICUs at the ground floor of the surgical block, the medical block, the accident block and emergency centre, are currently fully refurbished, with each unit having six beds together with new equipment.

Prof. Nii Otu Nartey made this known during a tour with the media of ongoing projects at the hospital on Wednesday in Accra.

The tour took the media to the Pediatric Unit of the Children's Block, where contractors were busily working to complete three theaters, a recovery room, offices, dressing room for health practitioners, and an equipment sterilising room.

He said the first consignment of equipment would be arriving next month for the centre, while the rest was expected in December this year.

He explained that during emergencies children are rushed to adults' theatres to be operated upon, saying "how can child be operated in an adults' theatre? Children are children, and they must be treated as such."

He, therefore, gave the assurance that upon completion of the centre, the practice of sending children to adult theaters would be thing of the past.

He further gave the assurance that the old children's block structure would be pulled down in August to pave way for the commencement a new one that will accommodate 70 to 90 beds.

Accompanying the Chief Executive was Mr. Joaquin Roura, Manger of the Belstar Development LLC and contractor for the project, and also coordinator of the National Medical Equipment replacement and the head of Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Nicholas Gebe.

Mr. Joaquin Roura told the media that the equipment would arrive next month, while the Pediatric Unit would be completed in September this year.

Dr. Nicholas Gebe, on the other hand, also added that a legislative instrument had been passed by Parliament that would compel suppliers of medical equipment to teaching hospitals to provide technical arrangement and support after the deliveries.

He stated that in the past, suppliers made deliveries without giving any technical arrangements, for which after a few years the hospital has to spend huge sums of money on maintenance.

He added that in the past people provide equipments and were not seen again when there were problems with them, saying, "Once you provide equipment, you have to make available technical support."

The 13 faulty lifts in the hospital have also been replaced with new ones, but it will only be accessible after some equipment is installed to check power fluctuations, in order to increase the lifespan.

The laundry department, which has not had any rehabilitation since its establishment, according Prof. Nartey, would be given new equipment, pressure booster and water softeners.

The projects include the construction a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Computed Tomography Scan facility, Childre's Emergency Unit, Eye Centre, Pediatric Unit, and the refurbishment of the kitchen, alongside equipments.

With the Radiotherapy Department, he said the new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit was having problems with the cooling system, hence the construction of new a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Block.

Funds allocated for the entire project amounts to US$267 million for all regional teaching hospitals across the country.

Prof. Nartey used the opportunity to explain why he invited Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the development of the hospital, saying, "Most people got me wrong on that. I didn't say the hospital should be privatized. What I meant was that now government has started with the PPP, there are certain portions of the hospital that we want the public and the private investors to come on board to develop."

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