Stakeholders in child health have expressed concerns about the dire conditions of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the maternity ward of Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH) in Takoradi and advocated the refurbishment of the hospital.
The unit is also faced with inadequate incubators and other equipment to cater for new born babies and operate at full capacity.
For this reason, the African Foundation for Premature Babies and Neonatal Care (AFPNC) led by its Executive Director, Miss Selina Bentoom, has signed a resolution to be presented to the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, to draw more to the deplorable state of the facility.
"The NICU is a death-trap and needs refurbishment and facelifts to give comfort to new born babies and mothers," the Executive Director said at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital during the celebration of the International Women Day last Thursday.
She said recent visits to the unit showed some mothers sleeping on the floors, noting that the NICU had 21 beds and admitted more than 1,000 patients, annually for the past three years.
Miss Bentoom said a 2014 report showed that institutional neonatal mortality in the Western Region was 6.7 per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 4.3 per 1,000 live births.
She said majority of the deaths -- 179 out of 295 -- occurred at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, the only secondary level health care facility and the largest in the region.
She urged stakeholders to remain committed to tackle the challenges facing NICU to restore the dignity of women, preterm and sick babies, stressing that every woman was exposed to neonatal challenges.
Miss Bentoom later presented 20 mattresses valued at GH¢3,000 to the NICU, and on behalf of AFPNC, in United States of America (USA), pledged GH¢25,000 towards the maintenance of the unit.
The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, promised that the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) would coordinate efforts to ensure that the NICU and the maternity ward were well equipped and resourced to deliver and save new born babies and mothers from preterm conditions.
The Omanhen of Essikado, Nana Kobina Nketsiah V, believed that financial commitments towards the NICU and the maternity ward would uplift the dire conditions at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital.