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Water shortage hits KATH

BY: Arku Jasmine

Five days of water shortage at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has affected its surgical operations, particularly, at the Accident and Emergency Centre.

Some patients have had their planned surgeries rescheduled because of this precarious situation.

The water shortage at the hospital has been occasioned by the collapse of electrical equipment at the Barekese and Owabi headworks of the Ghana Water Company (GWC) which supplies water to the Kumasi metropolis.

According to the Director of Medicine at the KATH, Dr Baffour Awuah, because of the acute water shortage, the hospital was not using all its 12 theatres.

He told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the A1 Maternity Ward had two theatres, while the Accident and Emergency Centre and the Main Hospital were also equipped with five theatres each.

“We are currently not operating at full capacity due to the acute water shortage, but as soon as water supply is restored, we will operate at full capacity” he said.

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At the time of filing this report, officials of the Electricity Company of Ghana had given indications that they had restored power to the two headworks.

Mr Erasmus Kyere Baidoo, the ECG Public Affairs Manager in the Ashanti Region, told the Daily Graphic that “we restored power before 12 noon today,(Sunday).”

However, GWC Regional Communications Manager, Mr Sampson Ampah, contradicted the ECG position.

He said in an interview that only Barekese Headworks was running and that power to Owabi was yet to be restored.  

The KATH, Ghana’s second biggest hospital, serves the northern part of the country. Many people from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire also make use of the facility.

The Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Mr Kwame Frimpong, put the problem squarely at the doorsteps of the GWC.

“The situation has forced many of our departments to reduce their operations,” he told Daily Graphic.

He, however, denied reports that surgical operations had been completely crippled.

Mr Frimpong said the situation had compelled them to resort to the services of private water tankers for water supply to critical areas such as the theatres, the kitchen and the A1 wards.

Mr Frimpong said the KATH had a total capacity of 160,000 gallons of water reservoir as a backup for water supply to the various wards and theatres for about four days.

“Anytime we experience water shortages for more than four days, we become handicapped because we deplete all our reservoirs,” he explained.

Mr Frimpong said even though the hospital had also constructed a mechanised bore-hole to beef up its water supply in case of shortage, the stock had been used up.    

He appealed to the GWC to restore water supply to the KATH to enhance its operations.

Mr Frimpong, promised that in spite of the challenges confronting them, the hospital authorities would continue to source for water to serve their clients.

The GWC has promised to surmount the challenge immediately full power supply got to both headworks.

Mr Ampah, the Communications Manager of GWC for the Ashanti Region, recounted the difficulties they had encountered over the past few days.

“The GWC would get power for some few hours and it would go off,” he said.

By Kwame Asare Boadu & George Ernest Asare/Ghana