Rev. James Kwame Awuni (in suit), Chairman, Presbyterian Health Services-Northern, with Cletus Azaabi, Board Chairman of Bessfa Rural Bank Limited, cutting the tape to inaugurate the theatre
Rev. James Kwame Awuni (in suit), Chairman, Presbyterian Health Services-Northern, with Cletus Azaabi, Board Chairman of Bessfa Rural Bank Limited, cutting the tape to inaugurate the theatre

Garu health centre gets surgical theatre•Facility to be upgraded to primary hospital

For almost 50 years since the establishment of the Garu Presbyterian Health Centre in the Garu District in the Upper East Region, the facility could not boast of a well-equipped surgical theatre to render services to patients.

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The centre serves as a referral facility receiving cases from smaller health centres within its catchment area, including Bunkpurugu/Nankpanduri in the North-East Region, and even renders medical services to nationals of neighbouring Togo and Burkina Faso.

Owing to the absence of the theatre for personnel to conduct basic surgeries, patients in need of surgical services were hitherto referred to the Bawku Presbyterian and Zebilla hospitals with its attendant consequences and risk.

As a result of the protracted Bawku conflict, it became a great source of worry for patients to be referred to the facility there, compelling health workers at the centre to now turn their attention to Zebilla, the Tamale Teaching or Bolgatanga hospitals.

To the rescue

Rev. James Kwame Awuni (in suit), Chairman, Presbyterian Health Services-Northern, with Cletus Azaabi, Board Chairman of Bessfa Rural Bank Limited, cutting the tape to inaugurate the theatre

To address the challenge management of the centre in a letter dated December 14, 2023 made a request to Bessfa Rural Bank Limited which has its headquarters in Garu, for theatre equipment.

To tackle the problem, the bank, as part of activities to commemorate its 40th anniversary this year, has handed over a refurbished and fully equipped surgical theatre at a cost of more than GH¢130,000 to the health facility, to put an end to the referral cases.

The renovation included refurbishment of a room allocated for a theatre which was in a bad state, and the installation of equipment such as surgical lights, a theatre table, patient monitor, general surgical, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology sets.

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At a ceremony to officially hand over the facility last Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Alhaji Hayatudeen Awudu Ibrahim, said management of the bank found it necessary to give back to society as part of the bank's 40th anniversary celebration.

He stated that although the centre was a major referral facility serving thousands of residents, it did not have a theatre to undertake caesarean section for pregnant women and other surgeries to save the lives of patients.

He stressed that the cost of transportation, coupled with the associated risk for people referred to other facilities due to the lack of a theatre had always been a great concern to the residents of the area.

He said “eventually we received a request from the health centre for such a facility and we realised that there is no better way to invest in the area than the provision of the much-needed theatre.”

The Board Chairman of the bank, Cletus Azaabi, said the gesture reinforced the bank’s belief that building a wealthy society was only a mirage without a healthy society. It is our fervent hope that this support will enhance the capacity and capabilities of the centre to deliver better medical services to improve the lives of the people.”

He expressed the hope that the new surgical theatre would help save lives and ease the burden on the residents in their quest to seek the required medical care.

Forceful referral centre

The new surgical theatre

The Medical Director of the health centre, Dr Emmanuel Jamal Mohammed, said as a result of the unending Bawku conflict, the centre had forcefully become a referral facility attending to cases from smaller health establishments.

He noted that as a result they had been forced to render services that ordinarily they were not supposed to offer, especially conducting surgeries, noting “the lack of a theatre had been a challenge for the centre.”

He cited an instance where recently a pregnant woman narrowly escaped death but lost her baby, after being referred to the Zebilla hospital due to the unavailability of a theatre for her to go through cesarean section.

Huge relief

He stated that the provision of the theatre was a huge relief to the health workers and members of the community as such services had been brought to their doorstep, stressing “the era of referring such cases to other facilities will be a thing of the past.

“There is no doubt that with the provision of the theatre the number of cases usually referred to other facilities will reduce drastically, as all manner of surgeries can now be performed in the centre.” 

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While indicating that the necessary processes had been commenced to pave the way for the upgrading of the centre to a primary hospital, he made a passionate appeal to corporate entities and other institutions to construct a paediatric ward for the centre to save the lives of children.

The District Chief Executive for Tempane, Issaka Anabida, commended the bank for their timely intervention.

Further, he encouraged the staff of the centre to ensure the regular maintenance of the facility and put it to good use for the ultimate benefit of the people.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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