93-year-old Sandema Hospital in deplorable state
Established 93 years ago, the Sandema Hospital in the Builsa North Municipality in the Upper East Region is currently in a sad state due to years of neglect.
The facility was initially set up in 1970 as a Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound, but after some years it was upgraded to a health centre and then finally to a district hospital in 1992.
Since being upgraded to a hospital, it has not received attention in terms of renovation, which has over the years led to the continuous deterioration of the medical facility, a major referral facility in the area.
Almost all the roofs of the buildings and units within the hospital leak badly anytime it rains, a development which makes it unbearable for the staff of the hospital and patients on admission as well.
As a result of the current poor state of the facility, anytime it rains staff of the hospital are compelled to place buckets and basins at vantage points to collect the rainwater from the leaking roof.
Aside from the newborn care unit, theatre and emergency unit, the children’s and maternity wards, as well as the pharmacy unit, laboratory and dressing rooms leak badly.
The office of the medical superintendent of the hospital has not been spared of the leakage and anytime it rains, it becomes very difficult for the head of the facility to operate from his office.
Entrance to the Outpatients Department and adjoining wards
Apart from the damaged roofs resulting in general leakages, the hospital is grappling with broken louvre blades, exposed electrical cables, and broken tiles coupled with gaping cracks in walls.
The dilapidated state of the hospital is a great source of concern to the management, staff and residents in the area and patients from neighbouring North-East and Upper West regions, as well as an impediment to quality healthcare delivery.
Speaking about the bad state of the hospital in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, described the state of the facility as not the best which needed urgent attention.
He noted that since the facility was an old one, it had developed a lot of defects that needed to be fixed to put the hospital in good shape to render the required medical services to patients in the area.
“I must tell you that due to the bad state of the electrical wiring particularly at the out-patient department (OPD), we have to change bulbs almost every week, which is having a drain on the finances of the hospital,” he said.
He mentioned that what was urgently needed was for the entire hospital to be re-roofed to bring relief to staff and patients and said “Obviously, re-roofing of the hospital is capital intensive, which can only be undertaken by the government”.
“Sadly as the head of the hospital, I cannot operate from my hospital because anytime it rains it gets flooded,” he stressed.
The hospital's signpost
He, therefore, appealed to the government to take immediate steps to improve the current state of the hospital to boost the morale of workers and to attract patients to seek medical care at the facility.
Additionally, he appealed for a cold storage system to enable a mortuary built by Monk Civil Engineering Limited as part of its corporate social responsibility to operate to render services to the people.
He stressed that the absence of the cold storage system had made it impossible for the mortuary to be utilised and it had currently become a white elephant.
He further appealed for the construction of an emergency ward for the hospital.
Speaking during a regional inter-sectorial meeting organised by the Regional Coordinating Council last Monday, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the area, Vida Akantagriwen Anaab, said the hospital was in ruins and a looming danger.
She stated that the municipality was not a beneficiary of the ‘Agenda 111’ hospital project and that the state of the only hospital in the Builsa area needed to be treated as an emergency and tackled as quickly as possible.
Appealing to the Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, she said: “Mr Minister, I am on my knees and I want to use this opportunity to appeal for the hospital to be fixed to carry out its mandate of rendering quality services to patients.”