The Neonatal Unit of the Sunyani Regional Hospital in the Brong Ahafo Region recorded a total of 54 deaths within the first six months of the year due to the lack of incubators at the referral facility.
Even though the unit receives about seven pre-term babies a day, it only has four incubators, thereby compelling health personnel to tuck up between two and four of such babies in one incubator.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Amponsah, who disclosed this, attributed the high incidence of death among premature babies to cross-infections because of overcrowding.
Even though he could not give the actual number of deaths among premature babies at the hospital within the same period last year, the director expressed concern about the situation.
Dr Amponsah was addressing the media after Kokrokoo Charities, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), had presented two incubators worth about $20,000 to the hospital in Sunyani last Saturday.
That brings to 19 the number of incubators the NGO has donated to hospitals in nine regions in the country.
According to the director, the unit, which started with only two incubators in 2003, now had six.
He, however, said the incubators were still not enough for a hospital which was a referral facility for the entire region and beyond.
Dr Amponsah also expressed concern over inadequate C-Pap machines at the Neonatal Unit.
The machine enables babies to breathe normally.
Currently, the unit has only one C-Pap machine.
The director thanked Kokrokoo Charities for its kind gesture and appealed to other NGOs to go to the aid of the hospital to enable it to function efficiently.
For his part, the Chairman and Founder of Kokrokoo Charities, Mr Kwame Sefa-Kayi of Peace FM, an Accra-based radio station, appealed to philanthropic groups, individuals and organisations to assist his establishment to donate more incubators to hospitals to save the lives of premature babies.
He entreated Ghanaians to patronise the organisation’s fund-raising drive by dialing 3322 on their MTN mobile numbers to donate GH¢5.
An official of Kokrokoo Charities, Mr Dennis Adutwum, said it was sad that currently out of the 140,000 premature babies born annually in the country, 8,000 of them died due to the lack of incubators.