Health infrastructural decay-the state of Akatsi Municipal Hospital

Health infrastructure is at the core of healthcare delivery and the colossal financial resources deployed to achieve that should never go beyond the stipulated period for constructing such facilities.

Health is therefore crucial to mankind’s existence, the reason the United Nations fashioned Goals categorising goal three, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to promote healthy lives and wellbeing of the population.

And this could only suffice when there is infrastructure and a corresponding human resource to deliver quality healthcare to the population to champion the SDGs.

The excessive cost-overruns stemming from the delay of completing health infrastructure cannot be over-emphasised.

In recent times, a 45-year-old maternity and Baby Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) was demolished to make way for the construction of a new facility.

The state would spend humongous finances to fix the KATH new project, many times the cost of the former abandoned facility, which was started four decades ago.

There are also concerns about the perceived high cost of hospital care and, consequently, health-care systems have been experimenting with new ways of shifting specialist services from hospital into the community as a means to increase the accessibility of services and responsiveness of the system, and potentially, to reduce costs.

One major challenge affecting the Akatsi Municipal hospital is the abandoned uncompleted projects at the health facility, which is stifling the delivery of adequate and quality care.

The Akatsi Municipal Hospital is located at Akatsi Agbalixorme, along the Akatsi-Tadzewu road within the Akatsi South Municipality of the Volta region.

It was built in 1992 by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

The structure was meant to be a dental clinic, but handed over to the Ministry of Health in 1994 to serve as a health centre.

It was later upgraded to the status of a District Hospital in 2006, which operates a bed capacity of 79, which provides services such as, Medical Care, Surgical Care, Reproductive Child Health and Family planning, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic, among others.

The hospital has a total staff strength of over two hundred (200), including; one Specialist Surgeon, eight Medical officers, a nurse manager, a pharmacist, two administrative managers, a health service administrator, one human resource manager, one Biomedical scientist, three laboratory assistants among others.

Between 2018 and 2020, the hospital made some income accruing to over GHC 2,844,869.36 with a total expenditure of GHC 3,545,298.55 between 2017 and 2019.

The hospital saw some decrease in Fresh Still Birth from 3.2 to 0.7 per 1000 live birth, zero under five malaria death, 1ST Successful Pediatric Surgery in, Medical & Dental council accreditation for housemen training in Surgery, increase in Surgical Procedures by 40.3 per cent which include, 489 in 2018, 564 in 2019, and 946 in 2020. Others are Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) centre, and dental clinic.

The hospital, according to Mr. Pascal Ayivor the health information officer, has an average daily out-patient department (OPD) attendance of between 150 to 200, and currently facing infrastructural deficit in wards and ward space, accommodation for critical staff, inadequate office accommodation, lack of equipment, and delay in claims payment by National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) are some of the issues affecting the efficient and effective delivery of everyday health activity by the hospital.

The situation mostly resulted in the application of voluntary transfers by some newly posted staff due to lack of office space and accommodation.

The then Akatsi District hospital project was started in 2012 and was said to have been completed in 2015.

It received funding from the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the Ministry of Health.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to the project site at Akatsi revealed the project, which includes male and female wards, central supply and sterilisation department (CSSD), laundry, theatre; mortuary and block of flats were about 70 per cent complete.

The GNA also saw some parts of the buildings deteriorating as a result of neglect, while some animals and reptiles were seen.

The then Assembly member for the area, Mr. Jacobs Amegatse when contacted,  stated, residents who were employed as labourers at the site were laid off.

“Maripoma Enterprise Limited, the contractor in charge of the project has since left the site”.

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area, Mr. Leo-Nelson Adzidogah disclosed that the project was delayed before 2017 and a proposal was sent to the Health Minister for expedited intervention and was optimistic the project would be given the needed attention as soon as possible.

The situation, according to residents, if not addressed, would pose a healthcare challenge to those within and outside the Municipality.

They are therefore appealing to the Ministry of Health and the government to support them to safeguard the national purse.

Some Chiefs and elders within the area also appealed to all philanthropists in exploring some possible means to complete the hospital project to salvage the situation.

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