Achimota Hospital theatre shut down over broken down anaesthetic machine

BY: Seth J. Bokpe
Achimota Hospital theatre shut down over broken down anaesthetic machine
Achimota Hospital theatre shut down over broken down anaesthetic machine

Achimota Hospital theatre in Accra has been shut down because the only anaesthetic machine there has broken down, compelling the hospital to refer scheduled Caesarean sections to other major hospitals such as the 37 Military Hospital, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

It is almost a month now since the machine broke down.

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The hospital had been delivering an average of 10 babies daily, out of which three were through Caesarean section.

Last year, the hospital delivered more than 3,000 babies, out of which almost 800 were through Caesarean section.

An anesthetic machine is the apparatus used to deliver general anaesthesia to patients as they undergo a medical procedure. The most commonly used device is the continuous-flow anaesthetic machine which provides a steady flow of air containing a regulated supply of gas.


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Frustrations

Some pregnant women told the Daily Graphic that they were frustrated because after months of attending antenatal care at the hospital, they were now being forced to choose among the three hospitals.

“I have been coming here for almost eight months but I’m being told that I have to choose among 37, Ridge and Korle Bu. I live at Tantra Hill and the Achimota Hospital is very close to me. I don’t know why I have to go through the stress of going all the way to those hospitals because of a broken down machine,” an expectant mother who gave her name only as Edith said.

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Another pregnant woman, Mary Otoo, said she had been referred to the 37 Military Hospital for a caesarean section, adding that she was not comfortable with the arrangement.

The hospital attends to patients from more than 10 communities, including Achimota, Kissieman, Ofankor, Pokuase, Haatso, Lapaz, Dome and Amasaman.

Limited deliveries

A source at the hospital said they were doing limited deliveries, especially cases that did not require emergency surgery or caesarian section.

“Our anaesthetic machine broke down about four weeks ago. When the assessment was done, we were told that it needed a part.

Unfortunately, the part was not readily available. It was imported. It took about 10 days. It took us about two weeks to fix it. Within a week of fixing it, it developed another problem.

“Now they are saying that it is better for us to buy another machine. But the hospital, from what we have heard from management, does not have the money. Internally generated funds are not enough to cater for that,” the source said.

According to the source, ever since the machine broke down, at least 26 cases had been referred to the three major hospitals.

Another source said the situation was also affecting normal deliveries because “someone may come for normal delivery but can’t make it and has to go through caesarian. It is not everyone who comes here with elective caesarian section”.

Funds

When contacted, the Medical Superintendent at the Achimota Hospital, Dr Mildred B. Kumassah, confirmed that the machine had broken down but that the hospital was working on raising funds to replace it.

Asked when the machine would be replaced, she could not give a definite timeline.