A 54-Bed newborn care unit (NBCU) at the Tamale West Hospital has been inaugurated, to provide quality healthcare services to newborn babies and mothers and enhance general healthcare delivery.
The fully furnished facility consists of a kangaroo mother care (KMC) unit, neonatologist, pharmacy, therapy, consulting and mother’s room.
It was constructed by UNICEF Ghana with funding support from the Italian National Committee (Italian NatCom), with the objective to save the lives of newborn babies and prevent complications in mothers during labour.
The facility was jointly inaugurated by the Director-General of the Ghana Health Services, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye and the Country Representative of UNICEF, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay.
Front view of the facility
At the inauguration of the facility in Tamale, Ms Dufay said the equipment in the facility would go a long way to help save many lives of babies and mothers.
She indicated that it formed part of UNICEF's efforts to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.2, which sought to reduce the neonatal mortality rate from 27 deaths out of 1,000 births to 12 deaths out of 1,000 by 2030.
For his part, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Patrick Bampoe, said the hospital recorded zero institutional infant mortality rate (IIMR) below the target of six out of 1,000 live births in the first quarter of this year.
Dr Bampoe described the construction of the newborn care unit as timely for the department, as it would ease the pressure on the existing facilities and provide quality services for expectant mothers and babies.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye bemoaned the inadequate number of paediatricians and paediatric nurses in the country, particularly in the northern sector, and admonished in-service nurses and doctors to specialise in that area to help improve neonatal healthcare delivery.
"I know there are challenges, definitely.
We need a paediatrician.
This is probably the biggest newborn care unit in the region outside the Tamale Teaching Hospital and we must take good care of it, but we need paediatricians, not only paediatricians, but also paediatric nurses, so I encourage some of the young nurses to take up the position to go in for paediatric nursing," he said.
He indicated that the Tamale West Hospital newborn care unit would serve as a centre of excellence for training workers of the hospital and others within the northern zone.