Ghana: 1st Lady Inaugurates Korle Bu Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

A new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has been inaugurated for the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) to help reduce neonatal and under-five deaths at the hospital.

The project undertaken by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo under her Rebecca Foundation is expected to provide one-stop emergency services to save the lives of children referred to the Paediatric and Neonates Unit of the Department of Child Health of the KBTH.

Currently, the unit which receives about 6,000 children a month translating to 30,000 per year is said to have recorded 5,555 deaths from 2013 to 2018.

Out of that number, 998 children died in 2016, 910 in 2017 and 828 in 2018.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, inaugurating the facility yesterday observed challenges plaguing the health sector including lack of strategic planning that took into consideration requisite future needs, resource mobilisation and adaptation to new technological inventions among others to sustain quality health care delivery.

"How can we advance when we all acknowledge that we have a poor maintenance culture? I have in the past 29 months visited various health facilities and the story of broken down equipment, lack of spare or replacement parts or broken down infrastructure is all too pervasive," she observed.

To the First Lady, after whom the new facility was named, in as much as health facilities ought to urgently consider establishing endowment funds to supplement government support, "there must be strict application of maintenance protocols."

"We must take good care of our existing infrastructure. We also need to pay attention to continuous training of health staff to match global trends in health service delivery," she charged.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, expressing appreciation to partners of her foundation on projects that had resulted in major successes in the health sector, entreated corporate institutions, non-governmental organisations among other entities to invest heavily in the field to promote the well being of the populace.

Making a remark, the Chief Executive Officer of the KBTH, Dr. Daniel Asare was beside himself with contentment over the coming on board of the new facility which he believed will "in the next couple of months begin to manifest a drop in under-five mortality in the hospital."

He stated that in line with plans to roll out a "paperless patient and facility management system" for KBTH in coming weeks, the PICU would be the one of the first sections to operationalise the directive.

"The standard of this PICU is world class and comparable to any unit anywhere in the world. In order not to downgrade the standard by maintaining the manual records management system, we have decided to introduce the new paperless medical records system in this facility," Dr Asare noted.

The CEO assured that the hospital would go at all lengths to ensure proper maintenance of the facility having mapped out "a planned preventive maintenance programme to ensure that the building and the facilities are kept in good working condition."

Adding his voice, Head of Child Health Department at KBTH, Prof Ebenezer Badoe enumerated benefits that the PICU would bring to the department including improving quality care, reduce length of stay at the hospital, improve resource mobilisation, reduce complications and mortality rate.

"When you look at the number of admissions our mortality is quite high and almost twice the number admitted. Within 24 to 48 hours, we lose most of our children and our trust in paediatric care was eroding for the lack of a PICU so this has come in very handy," he said.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said his outfit was poised to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by working to reduce neonatal and under-five deaths.

He charged the management of KBTH to operationalise the unit in the shortest possible time while deploying improved technologies and innovations to maintain the unit.

The new 41-bed PICU with two isolation rooms for communicable diseases and other state-of-the-art facilities replaces the old children's emergency ward which had seen no renovation in the last 96 years.

It was constructed by African Building Partners with state-of-the-art equipments and gadgets to ensure efficient health delivery for patients while providing for a friendly and comfortable working environment for health personnel.

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