October 28, 2013 (Page 47)
Imagine a premature newborn struggling to survive under improvised medical care because there is no neo-natal ventilator. Also imagine asthmatic children waiting in a queue to receive treatment from a single nebuliser, with their apprehensive parents watching on in ‘agony.’
These are conditions prevailing in some major health facilities across the country. Some of the facilities do not have these equipment at all.
Having an ailing child is always stressful, and it can be very depressing to find health care professionals render professional services under poor conditions.
A neo-natal ventilator is any machine designed to mechanically move breatheable air into and out of the lungs to provide the mechanism of breathing for a child who is physically unable to breathe, or has breathing insufficiency. Medical ventilators were introduced in the 1960s and they became one of the major new interventions in neonatology which provide life-saving support for infants with respiratory failure.
After 56 years of independence, many hospitals in Ghana lack modern medical equipment to cater for the increasing health needs of patients, including children who are considered as the future of all nations. As of today, none of the public hospitals in the country have neo-natal ventilators said Col (Dr) P. K. Ayibor, Officer-in-charge of the Child Health Department of the 37 Military Hospital.
“We normally try another machine called CPAP mainly for oxygenation. The neo-natal ventilator is for both oxygenation and ventilation of neonates with respiratory failure. If it works, fine. Otherwise, the obvious happens,” Col Ayibor said.
Nkrumah Ward needs neo-natal ventilator
Nkrumah Ward, formerly known as Ward Nine, was established in 1956 to admit and provide care for the wards of military and civilian employees. Later in the 1980s, the facility was opened to the general public and has remained so to date.
Most wards at the 37 Military Hospital have been adopted by companies. For instance, the Emergency and Trauma Unit of the hospital is being sponsored by UT Holdings, while the Paediatrics Emergency and Simango Wards have been adopted by Magna Transport and Soniag Companies respectively.
However, the Nkrumah Ward which admits an average of 120 children on a monthly basis, does not have any sponsor. Nurses, doctors and supporting staff brave the storm and improvise with limited medical facilities to save the lives of ailing children on a daily basis.
A visit to the Nkrumah Ward brought a lot to bear. It was observed that the facility needed an urgent facelift. Most of the mosquito netting for special cubicles created for patients are torn, thereby, exposing the patients to mosquito bites, tap water hardly flows, while there is only one nebulizer for children who need urgent oxygen due to bronchitis and asthmatic attacks.
Paintings of favourite cartoons for children have worn off, amidst fading walls. The special room allocated for doctors and nurses to draw blood samples from children need to be upgraded and provided with new beds, new sheets and disposal beddings, while some of the cots for children need to be replaced.
“We as of urgency need a neo-natal ventilator to save newborns,” said Col (Dr) Ayibor in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He said the Prudential Bank assisted in renovating the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and as a result, the NICU can admit more patients into the intensive care unit, and indicated that during strike actions in government hospitals, there was an instance where as many as 120 children were admitted into the NICU facility which originally catered for between 25 and 30 children.
Making a passionate appeal for the Nkrumah Ward, Col Ayibor explained that the estimate for the renovation of the Ward is $90,000. The renovation works, when carried out, would facilitate the admission of more children.
Companies must come to the aid of Nkrumah Ward
The children’s ward and other departments of the 37 Military Hospital are the only facilities that admit patients during national strike actions by doctors.
That clearly indicates the immense contribution the hospital is rendering to the general public, and it would, therefore, be welcoming for individuals and or companies- be they in the transport, oil and gas and or the financial sectors- to pool resources and assist the Nkrumah Ward.
The assistance could be in the replacing of old medical equipment, renovating the main building, painting the inner and outer perimeters of the wards, provision of poly tanks and sponsorship for the training of medical staff to render more effective services to patients on admission.
Huge amounts of money are doled out to sponsor beauty pageants and entertainment activities. What could, therefore, be worth more than parting with a little amount of money to support a worthy cause like assisting a medical facility to provide quality healthcare for the future generation of this country? Indeed let us save the lives of the future generation!