There is an African proverb that says, “Until the rotten tooth is pulled out; the mouth must chew with caution.” Similarly, the Kwahu Atibie Government Hospital (KGH), located at Atibie along the main Nkawkaw Atibie Street in the Kwahu South District of the Eastern Region, is going through the same predicament as the mouth that chews has a rotten tooth.
The government-run hospital, which was constructed in 1954, serves an estimated population of about 230,000 people from all walks of life and over 200 communities within the Kwahu Municipal and outside the district.
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The 65-year-old facility offers services in internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, reproductive health and maternal and child health, dental and ophthalmic care, Ear and Throat (ENT) care and diabetes care.
It also offers pharmacy, psychiatric and laboratory, X-ray and ultrasound blood transfusion VCT/PMTCT services.
A faulty ophthalmoscope machine at the hospital
About 20 minutes drive from Nkawkaw, the hospital, which is characterised by the numerous health-seeking individuals who troop in and out to seek health care, is in a terrible condition and in dire need of resources to upgrade its facilities.
The edifice housing this key institution is in shambles.
The Medical Superintendent of the infirmary, Dr Arko Akoto-Ampaw, said the hospital was yet to see any major renovation.
“There are rusted metals everywhere,” he said, pointing to the peeled oil paint off the blocks of the entire hospital building.
In addition, the hospital is burdened with non-functioning medical equipment, rusted sinks, malfunctioning washing machines and a poorly equipped laboratory.
Dr Akoto-Ampaw said the state of the equipment had a major effect on service provision as it slowed down the progress of work.
Furthermore, the generator, which serves as a major source of power to the partially rural health facility, is malfunctioning and goes off abruptly.
The medical practitioner said as a matter of urgency, the hospital ought to have emergency equipment such as stretchers, patient monitors, ophthalmoscope and theatre beds to effectively manage critical situations, adding that most of those machines were broken down in the labour and paediatric wards.
“Even the lighting system is not left out of the terrible situation,” he said.
Side view of the hospital
Suggesting the way forward, Dr Akoto-Ampaw said the institution needed bigger generator to support or replace the old one, and a new ambulance to transfer patients referred to other hospitals in the region.
He added that there was the need to improve the infrastructure and increase the number of skilled health professionals in order to strengthen the hospital and provide quality health care.
Regrettably, the hospital must continue to operate with inadequate infrastructure and faulty medical equipment as it waits on the government to provide the needed resources to improve its facilities, Dr Akoto-Ampaw said.