President Akufo Addo is scheduled to be at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) on Friday to cut sod for work to commence on the abandoned 47-year-old maternity block at the hospital.
The almost 1000 bed maternity and child health block started in 1974 was to help deal with the serious congestion on the existing facility.
The blatant neglect of the project attracted public outcry after JoyNews’ special assignment documentary, “Next to Die” produced by Seth Kwame Boateng.
The documentary highlighted how scores of babies and mothers were dying at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital due to congestion.
Lives were being lost on a daily basis as a result of congestion at KATH, the country’s second-biggest teaching hospital.
These heart wrenching statistics from Dr. Gyikua Plange Rhule, Head of the hospital’s mother and baby unit were not the only worrying facts about the facility.
Expectant mothers also had their share, according to the former head of the gynaecology unit of the hospital, Professor Baffour Opoku.
All these were as a result of congestion. Congestion that made women in labour join queues and each wait her turn to give birth.
This same congestion meant doctors and nurses at the mother and baby unit had to put up to four babies in one cot or incubator.
A few meters away from where these avoidable deaths were being recorded was the perceived panacea to the congestion.
An almost 1000 bed maternity and child health unit started in 1974 but had been abandoned. This didn’t sound right.
These concerns triggered the “Next To Die” documentary which was first broadcast on March 13.
This documentary shook people in Ghana and beyond and it made many people angry at the reality of mothers losing their babies after nine months of pregnancy.
The public discourse on the blatant neglect of this facility continued for weeks and this compelled President Akufo-Addo to visit the hospital to obtain firsthand accounts of the situation.
It was Saturday 1st April 2017 and this is what he wrote in the hospital’s visitor’s book.
“I am very distressed at what I have seen here today. It is not to the credit of our nation that an important hospital project, KATH maternity block, should stand for 44 years uncompleted. We have to do something about it, and in intend to do so.”
Contractors who were working on the project had told Joy News about $75 million was needed to complete the project. They could finish the project in two years.
These two years waiting period meant more deaths so The Multimedia Group and the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo had to intervene and raise approximately $2 million to construct an emergency ultra-modern maternity and mother and baby unit in a record time of six months.
And indeed this facility helped to significantly improve the situation, save lives.
But to further reduce the deaths, the abandoned 47 year old building needs to be completed. Government has secured two credit agreements – from the Deutsche Bank and the UK Export Finance totaling 155 million Euros to continue the project.
Parliament approved this loan on 12th April 2019. All is set now for work to start on the facility and on Friday 15th May, President Akufo Addo will cut sod for work to continue on the project.
The Chief executive of the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital Dr Oheneba Owusu-Danso says this would be the best gift the hospital would have ever received.
Well, from the Multimedia Group, we would want to thank you all for helping us push this agenda for better health for the mothers and babies in and around the Ashanti Region.