• Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Volo digital Health Centre abandoned over lack of staff – Ablakwa


National Democratic Congress [NDC], Member of Parliament North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has explained that the solar-powered medical centre at the Volo Digital Village completed in 2015, is not operational due to lack of staff to man the facility.

According to him, prospective staff were turning down offers to work at the facility, citing the lack of staff accommodation as one of the reasons.

Speaking on Eyewitness News on Monday as the facility deteriorates, Mr. Ablakwa, in whose constituency the over Ghc800,000 facility is located, said it had been difficult attracting dedicated medical staff to man the facility.

He said the situation was mainly due to the unavailability of decent accommodation for the prospective health personnel who will be serving the facility.

“According to the Health Service Directorate in the Volta Region, even if we had one doctor for a start and a couple of nurses it will help. But the challenge has been that, they have found it very difficult attracting any interested staff, and because of the accommodation challenges… it does not make it attractive,” he said.

 ‘GHS500,000 needed for accommodation’

Mr. Ablakwa said about Ghc500,000 is required to construct a decent accommodation facility for the prospective health professionals who may accept to work at the facility.

“The last estimate we did, if we had about Ghc400,000 to Ghc500,000, we can provide a decent accommodation for staff to be recruited and we have reached out to a number of organizations who we are hoping will be able to support us to put up medical accommodation for the staff,” he said.

While admitting that sourcing for funds and the construction of accommodation may take a while, the MP said he had committed to ensuring that he personally funds occasional medical outreaches by the center by volunteers.

He said, “what we have decided to do as the best way forward is to carry out medical outreaches, so that at least we can use the facilities on a weekend program; Saturdays and Sundays, where volunteer doctors will take time off and I have committed to funding the outreach program.”

According to a report by the Daily Guide Newspaper, health workers and residents were also not in support of the location of the facility, which they say is isolated from many community members.

About the Volo digital village

The $860,000 digital village project comprises a solar-powered library and a health facility. It was funded by Samsung, UNESCO and the government of Ghana.

Located at Volo, a fishing community in the North Tongu district of the Volta Region, its construction was aimed at providing the essential educational and health needs of about 5,000 people in that community and surrounding communities.

Construction work began in 2014, and work was completed and handed over to the government in May 2015.

Citi FM has put the spotlight on several health facilities that have either been fully or partially completed, but are not fully functional.

A typical examples is the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre, the first phase of which has been completed, but the facility is not in use due a tussle between the school and the Health Ministry over who should manage it.

Spotlight on abandoned projects 

Citi FM has put the spotlight on several health facilities that have either been fully or partially completed, but are not fully functional.

A typical examples is the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre, the first phase of which has been completed, but the facility is not in use due a tussle between the school and the Health Ministry over who should manage it.

Completed Bank of Ghana hospital left unused

In a related development a 60-bed capacity ultra-modern Bank of Ghana Hospital which was completed in 2017, is yet to be put to use although all major equipment and hospital material have been duly installed.

The facility, located at Cantonments in Accra, was part of a GH¢445.8 million capital expenditure commitments of the bank to major projects including the construction of a data center and its guest house.

Citi News gathered that the construction, which started in 2014 by the Universal Hospitals Group, was completed in three years.

Board yet to take decision on hospital

Meanwhile, the Bank of Ghana has disclosed that the Board of the Bank is yet to take a decision on a mode that will be used to run its hospital, which according to the central bank is near completion.

According to the Bank, it wants to attack private investors to manage the facility when completed.

Responding to a question on the Bank of Ghana hospital, the Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison stated that the Board will take a decision on the most effective management model for the facility.

“This has been a project that the bank has undertaken and nearing completion. The new board will decide for the model of this hospital because we want to attract private sector management of that hospital,” he added.

$217 UG medical centre abandoned

Another one



Vice-President Bawumia taken ill; Under medical observation


The Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is undergoing medical observation after he reported feeling unwell.

He underwent several medical tests earlier Friday.

A short statement from the presidency signed by Communications Director Eugene Arhin did not state what he tested but expects to communicate further information


The Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in the early hours of Friday, 19th January, 2018, reported feeling unwell. He was attended to by his doctors, and is currently undergoing medical tests and observation. Any further information will be duly communicated.


Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com

New KATH Maternity block shows Ghana beyond aid is possible – First Lady


First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has expressed confidence, that Ghanaians can build a dignified, self-sustaining country and shun the tag as a beggar nation.

She said the new Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Maternity block built entirely out of fundraising efforts is an example that the President’s mantra of Ghana beyond aid is possible.

Delivering a speech at the commissioning of the facility in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, she mentioned the numerous support the project received after fundraising efforts in Accra and Kumasi in 2017.

“…even children sent their contributions”, she revealed.

The Rebecca Foundation project started after a Joy News documentary revealed in March 2017, shocking rate of mortality at KATH partly due to overcrowding.

In the Joy News documentary ‘Next To Die’, a cot meant for one baby is shared by as many as eight newborns. A father testified after he lost two babies when his wife delivered at the hospital in 2013, 2014 and 2016 respectively.

“How did we as a country get here?” Rebecca Akufo-Addo remembered her own outrage that joined in the national outpouring of indignation and shame.

“That was when I knew we needed to act”.

A KATH Maternity Block which began in 1974 had stalled for more than 40 years. It would cost more than $70m to finish and furnish the more than a 1,000-bed facility.

The Rebecca Foundation found it pragmatic to build immediately a less costly 10million cedi facility.

She was happy that the “outpouring of indignation gave way to an outpouring of giving”.

The First Lady, ‘Second’ Lady Samira Bawumia and wife of Asantehene, Lady Julia joined in helping raise funds.



                                       Photo: Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Lady Julia and Samira Bawumia

Two months after the March documentary, work on the new building began on May 29, 2017, courtesy the free services of African Builders Partners, a construction company.

                                        Photo: Construction work on the new MBU Block

After two inspections in October and later on December 9, 2017, the First Lady was chaffed.

“Now I need to confess this. What I saw was way beyond what I had imagined…it was simply overwhelming to see what all of us have done as a people in just five short months.”

Facing the “world-class” facility which is the only green hospital in Africa, Rebecca Akufo-Addo said; “Today is a happy day for us all. What we see here is in sharp contrast to the day the documentary was aired”.

“I stand here a fulfilled woman, I stand here a grateful mother, proud of my people.”

The commissioning was graced by wife of Asantehene, Lady Julia, the Batamahene and a host of traditional leaders in the region.

Rebecca Foundation KATH MBU

Rebecca Foundation KATH MBU

She proceeded to share some lessons she has learned from the concerted effort. The project she said made a strong impression on her that “we are better together…we are capable of solving our challenges.”

The First Lady urged Ghanaians to join in the President’s economic diplomacy of building Ghana beyond aid. “That’s the president’s dream, that is my dream and I dare say that it is everyone’s dreams too.”

She was full of praise for Joy News’ award-winning journalist, Seth Kwame Boateng, noting his documentary is a demonstration of the power of the media to promote unity and development.

” Multimedia, Seth Kwame Boateng you make us all proud”, she said. A citation from the KATH management was presented to the Multimedia journalist for being a “journalist with a difference”.

Seth Kwame Boateng citation

The First Lady expressed a strong desire to see the hospital manage the new maternity block properly and indicated her continued willingness to provide further support.

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, revealed that after consultations with The Rebecca Foundation and traditional leaders, the KATH Mother and Baby Unit has been named Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II Center.

It was named after the late mother of the Ashanti King.

While the commissioning went on, President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted his delight at the completion of the project and praised his wife.



Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com

Unity Link donates dialysis machine to KATH


The Renal Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has taken delivery of a brand new haematology analysing machine to ensure that patients receive optimum treatment.

The machine, which was donated by the Unitylink Money Transfer Company -an international firm – at the cost of GHC30,000, is expected to assist patients who are on dialysis at the referral hospital when they go for sessions.

The country Director, Adwoa Odom who made the presentation on behalf the company, said she hoped the machine would be an advantage to patients and the hospital.

According to her, the company deems it a great honour to contribute to the growth of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the health sector as a whole by donating the dialysis equipment and other materials to save lives.

She noted that the gesture formed part of the company’s corporate social responsibility, and pointed out that this would not be the last, if the hospital put it to good use.

Ms. Odom stated that Unitylink was an indigenous money transfer company founded by a Ghanaian entrepreneur by name Douglas Mensah to serve the Ghanaian communities in the Diaspora.

“Our close relationship with our motherland dates back in 26 years, helping Ghanaians to transfer money to their loved ones through our relationship with local banking partners,” she asserted.

Dr. Kodwo Eyeson, head of Renal Unit of KATH, who received the items on behalf of the hospital, expressed gratitude to the company for the kind gesture, and added that the equipment would aid in the establishment of a laboratory for the unit.

“We want this to be a major springboard towards getting a laboratory for the unit. It has come at an opportune time. We have a great number of clientele who share laboratory with other patients from different units,” he noted.

He indicated that the unit sometimes gets overwhelmed by the numbers and this contributes to overuse of facilities.

Dr. Eyeson praised the Unitylink Company for the donation, whilst the Medical Director of KATH, Dr. Baffour Awuah called on officials of the company to come and adopt the Renal Unit


Source: Evans Kyei

Holding in a sneeze can be dangerous

If you are about to sneeze — even if you are in a quiet place — doctors would advise you to let it rip. A 34-year-old unnamed man in Britain learned that lesson the hard way and had to spend two weeks in the hospital due to his resulting injury.

That’s according to a case report with the cringe-inducing title “Snap, crackle and pop: when sneezing leads to crackling in the neck.” The report was published Monday in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports.

According to the report, this “previously fit” man pinched his nose and kept his mouth closed during a “forceful” sneeze. He later told doctors he immediately felt a popping sensation in his neck. He didn’t notice any problems right away, but a couple of hours later he felt pain in his throat and neck. When it became swollen and his voice changed, he took himself to the hospital.

“This 34-year-old chap said he was always trying to hold his sneeze because he thinks it is very unhygienic to sneeze into the atmosphere or into someone’s face. That means he’s been holding his sneezes for the last 30 years or so, but this time it was different,” case report author Dr. Wanding Yang said. She works in the department of ear, nose and throat at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Initially, doctors saw swelling in his neck and when they examined the soft tissue they heard popping and crackling. Yang said that meant there were air bubbles getting into the man’s muscles and deep into his tissue.

Scans confirmed the problem. The tests showed actual streaks of air in the retropharyngeal region and extensive surgical emphysema in the neck anterior to the trachea. In other words, by trying to hold in his sneeze, he actually blew a small hole in his throat.

“Luckily, it was a very small perforation,” Yang said. “He didn’t need any operation.”

When you sneeze, it’s your body’s protective reflex to get rid of an irritant that has gotten into your nose. With a sneeze, a significant amount of air pressure builds up in the lungs and forces its way through the nasal cavity to get rid of that irritant.

A sneeze can propel mucous droplets at a rate of 100 miles an hour. If you hold a sneeze back, that pressurized air will need to go somewhere. In this case, it injured the tissue in the man’s throat. In past cases, doctors have also seen a stifled sneeze cause sinus problems, middle and inner ear damage, ear infections and a ruptured ear drum.

The patient was given antibiotics and had to be fed through a tube, which was removed after seven days. His symptoms got better while he rested and gradually he was able to eat soft food.

This kind of sneezing injury is unusual, according to the report. Doctors have seen patients with similar injuries after coughing heavily or after vomiting forcefully.

“It is a rare injury that we would more likely see with trauma, like if someone were to be in a car accident or was injured with a gunshot or knife, or if they swallowed something sharp,” said Dr. Adam M. Klein, who did not see the British patient and was not involved in the study. Klein is the director of the Emory Voice Center and chief of the division of laryngology in the department of otolaryngology.

Klein said if you are worried about spreading germs with your sneezes, rather than hold it in, the best thing to do to avoid injury is to let it out. If you don’t have a tissue, sneezing into the crook of your elbow, rather than onto your hand, is “a good practice.”

The good news for this patient is that there was no permanent damage. Doctors did advise the man not to pinch his nose closed for future sneezes and they advise others to heed the same advice.

“Halting sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous maneuver,” the report recommended. It “should be avoided, as it may lead to numerous complications.”



Kaneshie Polyclinic building abandoned for 14 years

The management of the Kaneshie Polyclinic has called on the government to complete a multipurpose building for the hospital, which has been abandoned for 14 years.

The Medical Director of the polyclinic, Dr Patrick Amo-Mensah, who made the appeal on behalf of the management, told the Daily Graphic that the urgent completion of the building would ease congestion at the overstretched facility.

The building project was initiated in 2004 but stalled midway for lack of funds.

Dr Amo-Mensah said reminders to various quarters for the completion of the facility had not yielded any fruitful results.

“We have made every available effort over the years but no action has been taken to complete the facility,” he stated.

He added that the polyclinic needed more structures to meet the increasing demand for quality health services by the people.

The interior of the uncompleted structure
                                                     The interior of the uncompleted structure

Abandoned building

The uncompleted structure has space for theatres, a dental unit, recovery wards, consulting rooms, and eye and ear clinics. It has, however, gathered dirt and garbage, with moss covering its floors, paving the way for rodents, insects and reptiles to take over.

The Swedish government constructed the Kaneshie Polyclinic in 1966 and is Ghana’s oldest polyclinic. The facility has not seen any expansion since and has, therefore, become too congested to cater for the needs of residents in its catchment area.

The 35-bed 24-hour polyclinic receives more than 500 patients a day, excluding pregnant women who go there for antenatal services alone.

It provides medical services for people from highly densely populated places such as Kaneshie, Bubiashie, Awudome, Darkuman, Fadama, Akweteyman, Alhaji, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Darkuman, Abeka, Lapaz, Avenor and Achimota.

It is the only government facility serving a population of 373,239 people in the Okaikoi Sub-Metro area.  Due to lack of space, not many patients can be admitted, so others have to seek medical attention elsewhere.

In the records room of the polyclinic, for instance, the shelves are full due to inadequate space for patients folders. It has, thus, made the retrieving of patients folders  laborious.

Other polyclinics

Amazingly, polyclinics such as the Mamobi Polyclinic and the La Polyclinic, which came after the establishment of the Kaneshie Polyclinic, have been upgraded to hospital status.

Facilities at the polyclinic are overstretched when there are outbreak of diseases such as cholera. In such events, makeshift facilities are mounted to cater for patients.

Moreover, Dr Amo-Mensah said, the lack of theatres had resulted in the constant referral of patients, especially pregnant woman, who had to be attended to urgently.

He stated that although management had tried expanding the wards, with the construction of a VIP ward, that was still not enough as a result of the number of people who needed services.

“The comfort of patients is a problem. I believe when the building is completed and the theatres are operational, pressure on nearby facilities such as Korle Bu and the Greater Accra Regional hospital, where patients are referred, will reduce,” he explained.



Food Poison Alert!


The Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued a high alert to citizens on food poisoning following the outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is the species of bacteria that causes the infection listeriosis.

The bacteria are capable of surviving in the presence or absence of oxygen.

It can grow and reproduce inside the host’s cells and is one of the most virulent food borne pathogens, with 20 to 30 percent of food borne listeriosis infections in high-risk individuals may be fatal.

The bacteria affect some meat and dairy products, fruits and vegetables and are transfered to humans when consumed.

Symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness.

Listeriosis can be prevented through personal hygiene, separating raw food from cooked food, keeping food under safe temperature and by using safe drinking water and pasteurised milk products.

The alert disclosed that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was monitoring the situation and had increased surveillance on meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables from South Africa to ensure that they are not contaminated.

“All officers at the various ports of entry have been tasked to be more vigilant and inspections have been intensified,” the alert, signed by Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu noted.

Mr Agyeman-Manu assured Ghanaians that there is no cause for alarm and “we shall continue to monitor, investigate and assess the quality of plant and animal products coming from South Africa.”


Source:Daily Guide

Ghana Health Service begins nationwide screening of SHS students


Congestion has hit some schools following the start of the free SHS policy

The Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), has begun a nationwide medical screening for students in the Senior High Schools (SHSs).

First-year students enrolled under the Free SHS policy have started undergoing medical examinations and their medical records would be kept and allocated to the various health facilities near them.

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the GES, made this known to the media on Monday, January 15, 2018, during a routine inspection of some health facilities in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Dade-Kotopon Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

He said all the second cycle educational institutions are supposed to have functional sick bays to take care of the health needs of students.

“Every secondary school boarding house should have a functional sickbay, which would be a connection between us and the school.

“We will use the sick bay as a point of call whenever any student is sick and even allow the health facility looking after the school to deploy a nurse there,” he said.

Dr Nsiah-Asare said the GES would take full control of school health and would not wait till an epidemic breaks out or students fall sick before providing health services.

He said the GES would take students through physical education, healthy lifestyles and nutrition, as well as health education and general environmental sanitation issues at the schools.

The Director-General of the GES said the government was re-structuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in order to improve health service delivery.

He said the government has settled some of the arrears of the NHIS and expressed optimism that, it would complete paying the outstanding arrears by the end of the year.

“Health is our main business and so the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) ultimate aim is to run health facilities and ensure that the public receives quality healthcare,” he said.

He said the MOH and its agencies like the GES and the teaching hospitals were undertaking a lot of innovations and initiating changes that would enhance administrative efficiency and ensure quality healthcare and customer service delivery.

Dr Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah, the Medical Superintendent of the La General Hospital, said in 2017, the facility received a lot of support from the government in terms of deployment of health personnel, which improved the general service delivery.

He said the facility has started putting measures in place to renovate some of its structures, adding that, it had secured some space to install new beds to accommodate more patients.

Dr Oduro-Mensah said: “We’re hoping that government alongside other companies and philanthropists would donate needed equipment to improve the care of patients”.

He said the hospital, which started as a polyclinic, needed expansion since it was the only health facility in the municipality.

On challenges, he said, the facility was still grappling with unacceptable staff attitudes, funding and NHIS outstanding debts.

However, he said, it was determined to consolidate the gains made last year in order to make healthcare better.

Touching on plans to roll out innovative policies to increase its internally-generated funds, he said, the facility was considering putting up a ward that would cater for patients who may request for “VIP Treatment”, instead of general services.

He said it would also consider entering into public-private partnerships with some major laboratories so that, services which the hospital could not provide would be given to them and vice versa.

“We can also offer health screening to other corporate organisations at a cost, but whatever we do, we don’t want to burden our clients and avoid charging them illegally for services we render to them,” he said.


Source: GNA

Cabinet directs Health Ministry to takeover UG medical facility


Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Health to take over the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC).

The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry who confirmed this to Citi News the move was in the interest of the public.

“The Ministry is taking over, just like it is mandated to ensure the health of the populace for national development. All health-related facilities in Ghana, both public and private all fall under the purview of the Ministry of Health, so it was strange for anybody to say that a particular hospital shouldn’t have the ministry of health coming close. It is the Ministry of Health that trains all the various health professionals and posts them to the various facilities. This is the wisdom by which cabinet has decided that it should be managed or come under the Ministry of Health,” he said.

The Ministry over the weekend refuted claims that the presence of the National security at the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) was to take over the facility.

The about 15 National security officials Center on the orders of the Health Minister in what appeared to be an attempt to take over the facility but the Ministry said the presence of the National security operatives was to reinforce security and protect equipment at the facility.

“The Company that won the bid and also constructed the facility has made it clear to the Ministry that they have completed all that they needed to do and for that matter they are demobilizing and are leaving the site. But if they are leaving the site, there are so many tools, items that are there at the moment. We have Legon security personnel patrolling and also taking care of the facility.”

“There are cases of pilfering going on from time to time so it became necessary for the Ministry to engage the National Security to go to the facility, analyze the situation and recommend appropriately, the number of additional security personnel who will be needed for them to check pilfering until the time that the facility will officially be opened to use by the public. They were not there to takeover because this is not a Military style or kind of thing,” he added.

A letter however sighted by Citi News, from the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu indicated that the interim management had been directed to hand over the facility to the Health Ministry and National Security.

Citi News about two months ago reported that the first phase of the Medical Centre, completed in 2016, was yet to be operational following disagreements over who manages the place.

The previous government, in 2012, signed a contract with Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility and hand it over to the university.

However, there was a tussle over the management of the facility following the change in government.

But Robert Cudjoe believes the takeover of the facility is to enforce the Ministry’s supervisory role.

$217m UG Medical Centre wasting away over management tussle

The first phase of the University of Ghana Medical Centre which was completed in November 2016, is yet to be operational following disagreements over the legitimate manager of the facility.

In 2012, government signed a contract with Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility and hand it over to the university.

The university designated 400 acres of land for the entire project.Sources closely involved with the project had revealed to Citi News that, after this contract was agreed, another deal was signed between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana in 2015, which gave ownership of the $217 million facility to the university.

Following this agreement, the university established a company, the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) Limited to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will oversee the operations of the facility.

The institution also went ahead to obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission to recruit staff for the running of the facility.

The Ministry of Health in recent times, is however laying claims to the facility, leading to uncertainties over who has the responsibility to manage the centre.



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