Accra, May 5, GNA – The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has launched a fund-raising event to mobilise 10 million Ghana cedis to build a bigger maternity block for the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).
Under the ‘Save a child, Save a mother project,’ the maternity facility would help create more space to accommodate pregnant women who attend the hospital for delivery and provide a safe haven for both mothers and their newborn.
The new unit would have five delivery beds, three operating rooms and four emergency delivery beds which would be equipped with 20 incubators and 20 phototherapy units. It would also be an insulated building with forced cooling.
Currently the Maternity Unit at KATH has two delivery beds and two operating rooms with only one functioning. There were only three working incubators and four phototherapy units.
The current facility also uses natural ventilation which makes the place hot with so much congestion due to lack of space. This situation had caused the death of some neo-natals and mothers as a result of infections.
The facility serves the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and the three regions of the north and parts of the Central and Western regions.
A documentary by Joy News some weeks ago revealed that at least four babies die every day at the hospital while 200 maternal deaths are recorded annually.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said after watching the documentary together with Mrs Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice President: ‘What we saw simply horrified us. New-born were dying and mothers were dying. The reason; Lack of space.’
‘The result is that we have a very congested maternity ward packed with expectant mothers. The documentary showed two heavily pregnant women sharing a single bed and in other cases two beds had been joined to accommodate three. We saw mothers lying on the floor and on hard benches.
‘There is so little space that some women in labour had to hold on until the labour room is free.
‘We immediately decided something must be done. Not only because we are mothers, but because fate has put us in positions where we simply had to act. Like Esther in the Bible we felt that God had put us in our positions for a time like this.’
Mrs Akufo-Addo said she was, therefore, partnering management and staff of Multi-Media Ghana Ltd, owners of the radio station which first broke the news of congestion at the Maternity Unit, to raise the funds needed to build a single-storey maternity block over a three-month period.
She said although government planned to give a facelift to the whole KATH facility, she, as the mother of the nation, had decided to raise funds to put up the facility to create enough space to accommodate more women and babies.
‘The new unit would allow KATH to take in four times the current number of infants and mothers. Ultimately the projection is that this new unit would reduce the avoidable deaths by 60-80 per cent,’ she said.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, therefore, called on all individuals, organisations, institutions, businesses, religious groups and other groups and associations to contribute to the fund to improve facilities at the country’s health institutions.
Professor Emmanuel Addo-Yobo, the Head of the Paediatric Asthma and Pulmonology Unit at KATH, expressed joy at the support from the First Lady and well-meaning individuals and organisations to ensure that a bigger space was provided for mothers and their newborn.
He said the hospital, built in 1954, had not seen any major expansion over the years but had continued to attend to increasing numbers patients that come from all over the northern regions and other areas.
‘The hospital does not refuse any admission because there are no other referrals hospitals around the region. We admit everybody that needs to be admitted and that is what is causing a great challenge due to lack of space,’ he said.
He, however, expressed the hope that the new maternity unit, when completed, would allow better monitoring and improved service delivery for mothers and their babies to ensure overall improvement of health delivery and reduce maternal deaths.
In attendance were Mrs Bawumia, members of Parliament, ministers of state, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the clergy, business executives and individuals who donated cash and cheques among other supports towards the project.
Ghana Cement pledged to provide cement towards the full completion of the project.
By Lydia Asamoah, GNA