Experts in the medical field from Accra have been invited by the management of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) to conduct an in-depth assessment of equipment at the only referral facility for the three regions of north.
The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr David Akolbila disclosed this to the media during a press briefing on the current situation at the TTH.
The decision by the administration to bring in experts was as the result of some administrative lapses that culminated in the shortages of oxygen and consumables which were compounded by the failure of some vital units to deliver health care to the people of the region.
According to Dr. Akolbila, the hospital was consuming close to hundred cylinders of oxygen a week amounting to GH₵ 100,000 Ghana cedis a month. The hospital is expected save the amount used in purchasing oxygen as well as minimize the use of its vehicles in transporting the oxygen.
The new oxygen plant expected to be installed in two weeks’ time would cost the hospital close to GH₵ 200,000 translating to two months cost of buying oxygen.The experts have assessed the whole hospital, the theater, monitors, and the ICU and have recommended that some 25 monitors be replaced with new ones.
Dr. Akolbila disputed claims that the broken oxygen plant was meant for a district hospital. He explained that the plant was not handled technically well, service was not done regularly. It was in an enclosed environment and the compressor got burnt, he explained.
Training of Phlebotomists
The tendency among relatives of patients to carrying blood samples to the lab for test was also identified as a major problem. To avoid the blood being contaminated, the management is training phlebotomists - people who draw blood from a patient [mostly through the veins] for clinical or medical testing.
Movement of very ill patients
One other problem very prevalent in most hospitals in Ghana is the allowance given relatives of patients relatives to move their sick family members to Out-Patient Department (O.P.D) wards for treatment.
The solution, management says, is to train porters who will move patients, equipment and numerous other medical paraphernalia between the various areas of a hospital.
Experts say, hospital porters are essential in maintaining the smooth running of a hospital in healthcare delivery.
The hospital, Dr Akolbila noted, has gone through a lot of administrative problems and the three months old new administration was trying to reposition itself and restructure the facility. "We have put in place enough sterilized recycling materials to allow work in the theater to go on without any hindrance," he added.
Work is far advanced to get the broken oxygen plant fixed to ensure constant supply of oxygen which will curtail the hospital from buying oxygen, the CEO assured the public.
The theater, laboratory and accident and emergency units are revitalized and are working fully as expected, he said. The first step the current management did was to stop buying materials for operations because it was causing serious problems and stalling work, Dr Akolbila said.
Touching on the perennial water shortage at TTH, the CEO assured residents that the problem will be addressed soon, through a new dedicated line it has secured from the Ghana Water Company Limited, in addition to the line from the hospital community.
On the charges at the TTH mortuary, the TTH CEO entreated relatives of deceased persons to insist on collecting payment receipts.
Dr AKolbila said the allegations of extortion of money at the mortuary are a worry to him and efforts are being made to stop it.
A notice posted on the doors of the mortuary indicates deceased relatives will pay 20 Ghana cedis as service charges and another 20 for offering prayer to the dead.
However, head of pathology at TTH, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim tells Zaa news, such charges are illegal and do not come from his end. "There are some charges for postmortem and autopsy of certain bodies but not for every dead body," he explained.