MTN Foundation provides lifeline for preterm babies in northern Ghana

BY: Silva Lumor
• front view of the neonatal centre

MTN Ghana Foundation has once again demonstrated its commitment to reducing infant mortality with the construction of a modern 40-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) in the Northern Region.

Constructed at a cost of GH¢335,000, the facility has two incubator rooms, a milk room, crib room, kangaroo mother care room, tutorial/conference room, nurses and doctor’s stations and restrooms, and is expected to impact over 1,200 neonates annually.  

Technology partners Huawei supported the centre with medical equipment worth Gh¢69,650.

The NICU of the Tamale Teaching Hospital is the main referral centre for the northern sector of Ghana. Prior to MTN’s intervention, the NICU was operating as a one-cubicle unit at the maternity block of the hospital. The constant congestion at the centre necessitated a separate and well-equipped block to handle neonatal cases referred to the hospital. 

At the well-attended and colourful event to officially hand over the facility to the authorities of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, the Executive Director of the MTN Ghana Foundation, Mrs Cynthia Lumor, reiterated the position of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on health, which states that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to all medical services, sanitation, healthy working conditions and a clean environment. 

She said, “The critical role a Neonatal Centre plays in reducing child mortality cannot be overemphasised. The provision of this essential centre will, therefore, relieve the anxiety of parents and health professionals who have to care for preterm babies.”

Mrs Lumor also stated that apart from the centre helping to reduce infant mortality, it would also serve as a centre for the training of medical students from the University for Development Studies. 

The Director of Public and Government Affairs for Huawei Technologies, Mr Chenhui Li, pledged Huawei’s continuous partnership with the MTN Ghana Foundation to undertake subsequent Corporate Social investment (CSI) projects to improve the social economic development of the country. 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Dr Prosper Akanbong, stated in his address that the reason for Ghana’s inability to achieve the target for Millenium Development Goal (MDG) Four was the slow progress being made in reducing neonatal mortality.

He said almost 50 per cent  of infant mortality cases occurred within the first 28 days of life. 

“With this improved facility, the Tamale Teaching Hospital will be better positioned to play its role in providing tertiary specialist care for the critically ill neonate, provide training in newborn care for peripheral facilities, monitor and supervise newborn care activities in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service and other partners,” he added. 

The Northern Regional Minister,  Alhaji Mohammed Muniru, commended both MTN Ghana Foundation and Huawei Technologies for ploughing back part of their profits to support their communities. He indicated that government alone could not  shoulder the burden for the provision of health facilities and encouraged the combined efforts of government and Corporate Ghana to intensify community development in the health sector. 

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included the country representative for UNICEF, regional director of the National Communications Authority for Northern Ghana and members of the Board of Directors of the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

Other health projects undertaken by the MTN Ghana Foundation included the refurbishment of the labour ward of the second  floor maternity unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital,  support towards the provision of an emergency unit of the Princess Marie Children’s Hospital and the provision of potable water to 20 communities in the Upper West Region. 

Other health facilities which have benefitted from the Foundation include the Effia Nkwanta Government Hospital, Twifo Praso Hospital, Ejisu Hospital and the Fomena Health Centre. In all ,the foundation has invested in 30 health projects which are impacting on thousands of people in Ghana.   

The writer is a Corporate Services Executive.

Tel: 024 4300 000

Writer’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Accra