New neonatal unit for Eastern Regional Hospital
A new GH¢7 million one-storey neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) attached to the Eastern Regional Hospital at Koforidua has been inaugurated.
The building cost GH¢6 million while its equipment and furnishing are estimated at GH¢1 million.
The facility which will house only mothers of newborn babies consists of four sub-units: the Yaa Boatemma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Kangaroo Mother Care Excellence Unit and Daasebre Kwaku Boateng III Mother and Baby Centre, all with a total number of 70 beds and a mother hostel sub-unit with 30 beds.
Also attached to the facility are a children’s ward, Outpatient Department (OPD), consulting rooms, conference rooms, high dependency ward, low dependency ward, an additional mother's hostel, stable patient ward, isolation ward, standard OPD and emergency ward among others.
Its construction was funded by the Kabaka Foundation, a non-profit organisation owned by the Nkosuohene (development chief) of Nkwatia-Kwahu, Nana Owiredu Wadie I.
The new facility replaces the old one which was so small and was without a mothers’ hostel, resulting in overcrowding of mothers of newborn babies.
In his speech, Nana Wadie said the overcrowding at the old facility touched his heart to construct the new edifice to make the mothers and their babies feel at home while on admission.
He said it had been the vision of Kabaka Foundation to ensure the success of Sustainable Development Goal 3, which thrives on good health and well-being, especially for women and children.
The interior of the Kangaroo Mother Care Excellence Centre
Nana Wadie, who indicated that the inauguration of the facility coincided with his 43rd birthday, was hopeful that it would not only enable mothers and their newborn babies get the best medical care but would also make the mothers happy during their stay in the facility.
He said he took inspiration from God to alleviate the suffering of humanity, especially premature babies and their mothers.
That, the Nkosuohene indicated, would put smiles on the faces of the mothers at the hospital’s NICU.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who was represented by the Director of Health, Administration and Support Services of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ebo Hammond, said the construction of the unit had been a significant milestone in Ghana's journey towards enhancing healthcare delivery.
He said the region recorded 7.8 per cent neonatal deaths out of every 1,000 live births, making it high and above the national rate, stressing that the new facility would save more lives.
The Eastern Regional Director of Health, Dr Winfred Ofosu, said the new NICU facility would improve access to caring for newborn babies and that mothers and families would no longer travel far distances with their preterm babies to the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals.
In view of that, he said the facility would help save the lives of newborn babies which would ultimately reduce maternal deaths at the facility.
Beacon of hope
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, stated that the new NICU represented a beacon of hope and light for the region's future prospect of saving the vulnerable in all aspects of health.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Arko Akoto-Ampaw, said after seeing the good works of the foundation when it rehabilitated the old facility, the hospital appealed to him to help construct the new one.
He stated that the new NICU facility would significantly reduce the stress that both patients and medical staff went through to ensure quality healthcare delivery.
He said his outfit was happy the foundation had responded positively to the hospital's request and thanked Nana Wadie in that respect.
Dr Akoto-Ampaw said 2,617 admissions were recorded at the NICU last year, while there were 5,175 deliveries, which created overcrowding at the old facility.
The Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre Kwaku Boateng III, after whom the facility was named, affirmed his support for the development of the hospital.
He lauded Nana Wadie for putting up the facility to help prevent neonatal and infant mortality.
Some of the excited mothers told the Daily Graphic that their sufferings had come to an end with the provision of a new NICU facility.
One of the mothers, Benedicta Nyarko, who was highly elated, told the Daily Graphic that the new facility would enable them to conveniently stay at the facility, because they would no longer struggle for space with their babies.
She thanked Nana Wadie for making that possible.