The Health minister turned Oliver Twist at an event organised by the First Lady’s humanitarian foundation to outdoor a state-of-the-art Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital in Accra.
Kwaku Agyeman Manu pleaded with Rebecca Akufo-Addo who heads the Rebecca Foundation to construct three more such facilities.
The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is the latest and second beneficiary of the Foundation following the construction and handing over of a Mother and Baby Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in January 2018 at a cost of more than ¢9m.
The Unit has 43-bed each with ventilators, isolation rooms, intensive neonatal care and paediatric rooms, a neonatal high dependency room, a large waiting area for families and an eight-bed resting room for staff.
It is expected to be the biggest neonatal referral centre in Ghana.
The Foundation has said the project was birthed out of requests by the management of the hospital when the First Lady launched the International Childhood Cancer Day in 2017.
It was constructed by Africa Building Partners (ABP) and completed 11 months after the First Lady’s cut the sod for construction in June 2018.
Standing in front of the one-storey facility, the Health minister observed that Ghana did not seriously plan for mother and child health when hospitals were being constructed.
He said during his monitoring of hospitals and health centres he found a lack of infrastructure, lack of equipment and a lack of personnel to man the equipment.
He revealed several neonatal units have an acute shortage of incubators. Some have none.
Mr Agyemang Manu revealed that he has found incubators packed up and unused in Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital while newborns were crowded in incubators there.
The challenges facing neonatal healthcare has seen 25 deaths per every 1,000 live births in Ghana according to the 2017 Ghana Maternal Mortality Health Survey.
There is a Sustainable Development Goal to have all countries reduce neonatal deaths to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
The Unit with solar-powered generation at Korle-Bu Teaching hospital, the minister said will play a major role in attaining the SDG 3 of guaranteeing healthy life and the promotion of the well-being of all at all ages.
“We can’t hide our appreciation,” the minister said calling the Rebecca Foundation a “domestic donor partner.”
In a speech full of praise for the gesture, the minister urged Rebecca Akufo-Addo to follow after her husband and President’s industrialisation plan to cite one factory in each district.
This time, in the health sector.
“I wish that you also adopt one teaching hospital one neonatal unit,” he said to a round of applause.
With KATH and Korle-Bu Teaching hospitals already beneficiaries of the Foundation’s benevolence, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu said the First Lady has only three more teaching hospitals to cover.
There is the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in the Central region, the Tamale Teaching Hospital in the Northern region and the Ho Teaching Hospital in the Volta region.
“It is in you Madam that we look up to do more for us”, the minister begged.
He charged the management of Korle-Bu Teaching hospital to make the facility operational within the “shortest possible time.”