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Health Facilities Regulatory Agency certifies KATH

BY: Daniel Kenu
Mr Otuo Acheampong — Board Chairman of the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency
Mr Otuo Acheampong — Board Chairman of the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has been accredited and issued with a licence to legally operate in the country.

It has thus become the first public teaching hospital to be recognised as such, in spite of having been in existence since 1955.

Other public teaching hospitals yet to be formally issued with licences to operate by the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA), the licensure body, are the Korle Bu, the Tamale and the Cape Coast Teaching hospitals.

The Board Chairman of HeFRA, Nana Otuo Acheampong, who presented the certificate to the Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Dr Oheneba Danso, in Kumasi yesterday, said the other public and private hospitals in the country had up to the end of April 2019 to meet the requirements or risk being shut down.

Act

He said the act establishing the agency, the Health Institutions and Facilities Act 2011, gave it enough powers to shut down any health facility which did not meet its requirements.

Beyond assessing and issuing licences to hospitals in Ghana to operate, HeFRA is also streamlining the activities of both private and public health facilities across the country to ensure that they offer standardised health services to the people.

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Fifteen of such facilities which are currently going through various assessment processes by HeFRA include medical and dental clinics and hospitals, eye care clinics, convalescent and nursing homes, maternal homes, physiotherapy clinics, pharmacy and chemical shops, dental technology laboratories, diagnostic imaging technology and medical assistant clinics.

Grace period

Nana Otuo Acheampong explained that the four-month grace period given to all health institutions ended on March 31, this year, but that due to the mad rush for the registration exercise, HeFRA deemed it necessary to extend the deadline to the end of April.

He said although teaching hospitals such as Korle Bu and KATH might have been in existence for a long period of time, they had to satisfy the legal requirement of meeting a minimum standard in healthcare delivery to be licensed.

"We have written to the Inspector-General of Police, who has notified all his regional and district commanders to provide men to enforce the law," he said.

He said even though there were about 33,000 health facilities in Ghana, the body had ceded about 17,000 to the Pharmaceutical Council to handle, while HeFRA focused on 15,000 facilities.

Nana Otuo Acheampong applauded the management and staff of KATH for scoring an average of 84.3 per cent in general assessment, with the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital being one of the best in the country.

A member of the board of HeFRA, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, urged the government to invest more in infrastructure and manpower to enable some of the health facilities to meet the assessment requirements.

For his part, Dr Oheneba Danso appealed to the government to prioritise the training of specialists to address specific needs of patients.