The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday commissioned the new 41-bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to provide quality and adequate health care to children.
The facility consists of 21-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and 20-bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), constructed under the patronage of the Rebecca Foundation.
The Hospital authorities, therefore, named it after the First Lady as the: “Rebecca Akufo-Addo PICU.”
It has two isolation rooms for communicable diseases and is said to be environmentally and disability friendly, with all the necessary modern amenities and equipment needed for quality child health care.
The facility, the first of its kind at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in its 96 years of existence, replaced the old Children’s Emergency Ward, which had not seen any renovation since its construction in the 1960s.
The Emergency Ward had an out-patient attendance of 30,000 and 6,000 admissions, respectively per annum. Therefore, around 2017, authorities of the Korle-Bu Child Health Department requested the support of the Rebecca Foundation to fix the challenging conditions facing it.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo expressed concern over the poor maintenance culture, which had contributed in no small way to the deterioration of several infrastructures in the country.
“I have in the past 29 months visited many health facilities. The story of broken down equipment, lack of spare or replacement parts, and broken down infrastructure is all too pervasive. We have to change this narrative,” she said.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo urged the hospital authorities to keep the facility in good shape by providing periodic maintenance. She called for more detailed planning that would guide the determination of resources needed to provide quality healthcare and the training of staff to match global trends in health service delivery.
The First Lady urged institutions, non-governmental and charity organisations to emulate the works of the Rebecca Foundation and partner the government to provide the health needs of the people.
She called for the establishment of endowment funds that would enable health authorities to supplement government subventions in managing health facilities.
Dr. Bernard Oko Boye, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, commended Mrs. Akufo-Addo for responding to the appeal with such urgency.
He said the naming of the ultra-modern PICU after the First Lady was in appreciation of the many lives her benevolence would save as well as her continued love and dedication to the health needs of children and mothers.
Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Health Minister, expressed appreciation to the Rebecca Foundation for partnering government to improve the performance of the health sector. He said Ghana was developing a national newborn strategy that would help to properly cater for child healthcare.
Dr. Daniel Asare, the Chief Executive Officer, KBTH, said the Child Health Department that attended to children and neonates from birth to 12 years was a referral point, which received cases from across Ghana and the sub-region, with most cases requiring intensive care.
“The increasing patient numbers received, as against the Department space, make admission challenging and compromises the quality of care. The completion of the PICU is, therefore, welcomed news not just for the Hospital and our patients alone, but the country at large.”
Dr. Asare expressed the confidence that the First Lady’s intervention would, in the next couple of months, begin to manifest a drop in under-five mortality. He promised that the facility would be maintained properly.
The PICU was constructed by African Building Partners with state-of-the-art building technology and fitted with the latest equipment to ensure efficient health delivery in a friendly and comfortable working environment.
It has a clinical laboratory, clinical pharmacy and office, a main reception with staff rest area, staff training and meeting rooms and changing rooms all fitted with disability-friendly toilet and bathing facilities.