The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has inaugurated a modern Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra.
The 41-bed facility was built by the Rebecca Foundation, which has the First Lady as the Executive Director. It is the first of its kind in the history of the 96-year-old hospital.
The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit comprises a 21-bed neonatal Intensive care Unit (ICU) and a 20-bed PICU.
The facility also boasts a Paediatric Intensive Care Room, Paediatric ICU Isolation Room, a Paediatric High Dependency Ward, Neonatal ICU Ward, Neonatal High Dependency Ward and a Neonatal Isolation Ward.
Its other facilities include a clinical laboratory, clinical pharmacy and a full set of medical equipment for the care of patients.
The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit is also fitted with medical gases, solar water heaters, voltage stabilisers, water storage and pumps and solar power generation.
Besides, it is energy-efficient, employing green technology and it is also disability friendly.
The management of the KBTH has named the facility: ‘Rebecca Akufo-Addo Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.’
Mrs Akufo-Addo said the building was in fulfillment of a promise she made in 2017, when the Korle Bu Child Health Department requested the support of the Rebecca Foundation to help fix the challenging conditions facing the department.
She said “our subsequent inspection revealed a situation of limited space and inadequate equipment, resulting in delays and avoidable deaths. My first thought was that this is not the Ghana our forebears envisioned. This is not the Ghana our children expect from us.”
She pointed out that no matter how brilliant, committed and dedicated “our health employees are, they simply cannot give of their best, without the needed inputs.”
“Today is certainly a happy occasion, but today should also be a day of reflection and a call to action,” the First Lady said and queried: “How did we as a country get to where we are today, where our premier teaching hospital will have such challenges in taking care of our children?
“The experts may have their positions on this question, but permit me, a non-expert, to also state my humble view. I believe it is important to pay attention to planning and its execution, planning that takes into account all the variables that affect the quality of care in an institution like Korle Bu,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.
She emphasised that strategic planning that allowed for learning more about the organisation, sharing of perceptions, and discussing critical issues affecting or likely to affect the organisation in the future was critical.
Mrs Akufo-Addo stated that effective planning should also allow for the determination of the resources needed to provide the quality of care desired.
But she cautioned: “Planning alone is not enough. Execution, including monitoring and evaluation, are absolutely vital.”
The First Lady suggested that the departments at the hospital and similar institutions should consider establishing endowment funds and entreated all to support any department which chose to do so.
She called for proper maintenance culture in the country and thanked the donors of the Rebecca Foundation for their support.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KBTH, Dr Daniel Asare, said the Child Health Department attended to children and neonates from birth to 12 years.
He said as a referral point, the department received cases from all the regions and the subregion, with most cases requiring intensive care.
Dr Asare said under-five mortality was an issue that engaged the attention of the government and international development organisations and disclosed that in an organisation like the KBTH, with highly skilled personnel, under-five mortality occurred as a result of the lack of appropriate facilities to save lives.
The Board Chairman of KBTH, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, thanked the First Lady for the gesture, saying the facility was fitted with all the needed equipment that a world-class facility needed.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, for his part, said the country was confronted with high neonatal deaths, emphasising that the new facility would help improve the country’s record in the near future.
The ceremony was attended by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Opare Osei, a Member of the Council of State, Nii Agyiri Blankson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, and the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, as well as some Ga traditional rulers.