Petroleum and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) related fires or explosions accounts for 44 per cent of burn deaths at the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre (NRPSBC), Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah, Director, NRSBC and Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said currently, 35 per cent of burn admissions at the Centre were from petroleum and LPG related fires or explosions.
“Burns are arguably the most horrific injuries that one can sustain and still survive. Although about 300,000 deaths occur every year from burns worldwide (compared to malaria that is about 500,000 per year), burn injuries attract very little support and attention,” he said.
“This is not surprising given the fact that 95 per cent of the burn deaths worldwide occur in Low and Middle Income Countries such as Ghana.”
Dr Ampomah made these remarks at the commissioning of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) funded Burns Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Complex of the NRPSBC, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
The almost two million dollar facility, which was commissioned by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is the only Centre of its kind and status in West Africa.
The Centre receives patients from Ghana and the West Africa Sub-region.
It reaches the highest level of excellence in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery, dutifully treating all patients with deformities, ulcers, burns, cancers and various injuries with respect and compassion and restoring them to as normal a state as possible.
The Director said mass burn incidents are not uncommon in this country; declaring that “a significant cause of these mortalities has been the lack of an intensive care facility to support the critically ill, especially those with inhalation burns”.
“This Burns ICU Complex is indeed a game changer in the management of severe burn cases. ICU’s however, are heavily manpower and resource dependent,” he said.
He appealed to the Minister of Health to support the Centre with the deployment of additional health care manpower and resources to enable them to operate at full capacity.
“Being mindful of the fact that many of our patients, especially children and young adults cannot afford the cost of treatment, we have set up a Burns and Reconstructive Surgery Foundation in order to support such needy patients. I entreat all of you to contribute generously to this fund,” the Director stated.
Dr Ampomah said: “We owe a depth of gratitude to the Board and Management of the GNPC for their commitment, which ensured that they continued to support this landmark project to its successful completion.”
“I trust that they will continue to empower our dreams of providing world class reconstructive surgery and burn care excellence by supporting the next phase of development of this facility such as the establishment of skin culture, tissue banking, tissue viability services, oxygen concentrator, and electronic medical records.”
Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, the Chief Executive of the GNPC said from available statistics, it was obvious that there was a need to improve the worrying survival rate of 40 per cent of burns patients.
“This critical and strategic facility being commissioned today, for which GNPC has invested almost $ 2 million, is expected to ensure about 90 per cent survival rate of victims of burns,’ he said.
“I can confirm that the Board of Directors of GNPC has also approved the purchase of specialised cameras costing nearly $900,000 for the Oncology Department of this hospital. This we hope to deliver in the coming year, 2019.”
Dr Sarpong said it was the vision of the GNPC to be a leading global oil and gas organisation, whose operations have a profound impact on the quality of life of the people of Ghana.