A new Accident and Emergency Centre for the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital was inaugurated on Friday by the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
The central out-patients department (OPD) for the medicine and surgery block was refurbished and converted into the new centre as part of short-term measures to address the shortage of beds and also improve health care at the hospital.
The centre has the capacity for 65 beds and 30 trolleys but currently, 60 beds and 19 trolleys are available.
It also has facilities such as pharmacy, mortuary, temporary intensive care unit (ICU), a high dependency unit (HDU), an X-ray unit, laboratory and a theatre for minor surgical operations, to ease congestion at the main hospital facility.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had also made a personal donation of 200 beds to be distributed among wards where cases from the emergency unit were transferred to for continuous attention.
Additionally, he gave 10 trolleys and 10 wheelchairs to enhance operations at the hospital.
The items were presented to the hospital by Mr Agyeman-Manu on behalf of the President.
Although the refurbishment was completed in 2014 at a cost of $560 million, under the national equipment replacement project, the facility could not be put to use due to roof leakages and inadequate equipment.
An appeal was later made to Mr Agyeman-Manu to facilitate the process for the conversion, resulting in the correction of the defects.
In his remarks to officially open the centre in Accra yesterday, the minister said accelerating the process became critical because the 36-bed emergency unit that had been in use for years, could no longer deliver quality service to the more than four million people the hospital served in the metropolis alone.
He said news of people receiving health care in chairs, overcrowded environments, and patients dying because they could not access health care due to congestion in the hospital and other health facilities, was very disheartening to him and the government.
“This is the reason the Health Ministry provided support to the hospital to deal with the infrastructure deficiencies and equip the centre to ensure that some of the sufferings recently experienced by Ghanaians in trying to access health care will be reduced,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said it had come to the attention of the government that one of the reasons for the congestion and the no-bed challenge in the facility was the inability of staff to transfer patients from the emergency units to wards in other departments for continuous care within 48 hours.
That, he said, was attributed to inadequate beds in those departments, and added that the sector ministry was about concluding processes to provide 200 additional beds to the hospital.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the attempt to ease congestion informed the President’s decision to personally provide the 200 beds.
The minister said other initiatives to help solve the problem of congestion included the initiation of a process to source funding for the construction of a new trauma and acute pain centre on a 12-acre space available at the hospital.
He also gave an assurance that the government would look at other complementary services such as ambulance and emergency call centres to boost the management of emergencies.
Mr Agyeman-Manu congratulated the past and present managements of the hospital on the efforts they put into the project.
Acting Chief Executive
The acting Chief Executive of the hospital, Dr Samuel Asiamah, said the centre had been designed to cater for all adult emergencies, surgical and gynaecology emergencies.
He said although the centre would provide additional space and facilities to ensure prompt care for more emergency cases, efforts being made to construct a 400-bed acute pain management centre had to be accelerated to ensure that congestion at the facility became a thing of the past in the long term.
He applauded his predecessors, most of whom attended the inauguration, for their contribution to the success story of the hospital.