Ghana Cashing in on Health Sector Turmoil in West Africa

Ridge HospitalGhana, making the most out of the turmoil in the health sector in neighbouring countries, is on course to becoming a powerhouse in the provision of healthcare on the continent.

 The country has taken advantage of the numerous challenges of accessing quality healthcare including under-resourced health facilities, poor health infrastructure, low remuneration of health staff, and frequent strikes in health facilities in the sub-region, especially in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

It has emerged there are more than 5 000 Nigerian nationals seek healthcare annually in major hospitals in Ghana. They are paying over $1 billion to the Ghanaian health facilities.

Similarly, patients from other West African countries including Senegal, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso are also seeking healthcare in Ghana. In a bid to provide its own citizens as well as attract other nationals from the above-mentioned countries, Ghana has been making significant investments into the provision of health infrastructure in recent years. We all wish for a carefree life full of enthusiasm and vigor; and we value our body fitness and mobility. However, situations in our life can be as unpredictable as life itself. Certain illnesses, accidents or the unstoppable process of aging may hinder our scope of physical movement. But as the saying goes, ‘The show must go on’ and so must our lives. One may be amazed to see the variety of medical equipments and supplies available online. Such equipments enable a patient to live as comfortably and independently as possible in their home. Shopping online for medical products is far less daunting than shopping from the store as online stores have a much wider variety of options (in terms of equipment availability, accessories, equipment dealers and price) to customize your every need.Click to read more here about home oxygen concentrator for sale and rental. With great try and return policies, many stores allow you to shop worry-free, ensuring that you can replace the product with an alternate or providing your money back if the product does not fit your need. The online marketplace for medical products also caters for the wholesale buyers as well as individual buyers. Even large products which may seem impossible to ship are easily delivered thanks to their DIY style design.

Let’s explore a few product categories and the plethora of options available.

We can begin the journey with most commonly sold items- bathroom safety. This includes benches, lifts, safety accessories, step, bathtub safety rails, grab bars, shower sprays, toilet seats, bathtub mat, safety frames and benches to name a few. It is advisable to install these safety products to ensure elderly visitors to your home have an added peace of mind. Safety is everyone’s priority after all. Another high selling category consists of canes and crutches. Doctors these days recommend these for most foot injuries from sprains to cuts. From folding cranes to underarm crutches, there is a wide variety of options and accessories available. Grip options include T, forearm, and round and offset handles. The base or tip options range from single to quad, the later providing more stability while the single ones provide more agility. Umbrella style specialty handles and a wide range of accessories are available.

In the last few years, about US$2 billion has been invested in the provision of modern hospitals and the upgrading of facilities to ensure quality healthcare delivery. There are currently two Teaching Hospital projects, three Institutional Hospitals, four Regional Hospitals, 14 District Hospitals, dozens of polyclinics, scores of health centres and hundreds of CHPS compounds at various stages of construction in the country.

When completed, these projects will collectively deliver 6,000 new hospital beds to facilitate access to improved health care by 2017.

Currently work on the $217-million University of Ghana Teaching Hospital (UGTH) is almost completed, with the facility expected to commence operations this year.

The 617-bed health facility is expected to provide cutting-edge medical training for about 1,000 medical doctors to improve the current doctor-to-patient ratio and serve as a research centre for various health professionals in the country.

The teaching hospital built with a loan from the Israeli government, it is the first of its kind in the West African sub-region and will help improve the delivery of health in the country and the sub-region.
The facility also has a modest staff accommodation of 36 one-bedroom flats.

The project is being undertaken by Messrs Engineering and Development Consultants Limited, with medical consultation provided by the Sheba Medical Centre in Israel.

The Project Coordinator of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU), Professor Aaron Lawson explained that the hospital would commence with internal medical care when on the onset of its operations, adding that it would be fully functional by March of this year.
As part of the project package, he added, about 80 Ghanaian health and non-health professionals would undergo training at the Sheba Medical Centre in Israel.
“Currently, 20 senior specialists and consultants are in Sheba, while nurses, administrators, biomedical engineers and pharmacists will also be trained,” he said.

While the 48.5 million euros phase second of the Tamale Teaching Hospital project is ongoing. Specific projects under the second phase include the construction of a five-storey block with medical and surgical wards, faculty offices, tutorial and conference rooms; a second five-storey block with operating theatres, maternity wards and facilities; a three-story accident and emergency building and reception area, as well as beds for emergencies.

Others are: a link building, a new mortuary with pathology unit and laboratory; a new medical gases plant; assorted medical equipment; ancillary facilities including power plant; waste management section and staff accommodation.

The second phase of the Tamale Teaching Hospital Expansion Project when completed would add 400 more beds to make it an 800-bed facility following the provision of 400 beds under the first phase of the project, according senior government officials.

Additionally, the government is constructing a 420-bed Ridge Hospital Expansion in Accra, at a cost of US$250 million toimprove quality and expand access to healthcare delivery, particularly to its immediate catchment area.

The Ridge Hospital project involves the design, construction, procurement and installation of equipment for the rehabilitation of the hospital is expected to complete this year, is being financed with a Government of Ghana mixed credit facility from Exim Bank and the HSBC Bank.

The hospital is designed to contain components, such as the Civil, mechanical and electrical works for covering a comprehensive Diagnostic and Treatment block to ensure a 24- hour surgical service.

Accommodation for 42 staff members, school of anesthesia, 100 bodies capacity mortuary, main road and car park would also be constructed as part of the Project.

Other components of the facility include an Imaging Department, Delivery Unit, Accident and Emergency Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency ICU as well as a Burns Unit.

Civil works of the project which is about 70% complete is being undertaken by Buoygues Construction Company, a France firm. A visit by the CAJ News in Accra to the project site saw workers working hard to complete the project within the timetable.

Other ongoing regional health facility projects include the regional a 386-bed Bolgatanga hospital, a 250-bed Ashanti Regional Hospital at Sewua-Kumasi, a 160-bed Upper West Regional Hospital, Wa, all in the Upper East, Ashanti, and Upper West regions, according to a document-Green Book-which chronicles infrastructure in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

While several new and existing district health facilities are currently under construction and rehabilitation across the length and breadth of the country.

Furthermore, out of 2,948 functional Community -based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) zones, 1,260 have been constructed. Another 1,600 are at varying stages of implementation as the next phase.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama is addressing the healthcare needs of Ghanaians in an aggressive manner. This is premised on his belief that the health of his people is their wealth. The infrastructure, equipment and personnel needs representing access, quality and affordability are all receiving urgent attention.

The completion of the Eye Care Centre at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, the second leading referral hospital in West Africa after Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, both in Ghana, has made it possible to offer enhanced specialist eye care services toGhanaians and other nationals of West Africa.

The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah noted that under the National Medical Equipment Replacement Programme, old equipment and machines at the various major health facilities would be replaced with new ones.

“This US$264 million initiative has ensured the provision of critical diagnostic and treatment equipment for over 150 hospitals nationwide”.

These, Dr Boamah mentioned include all the Teaching Hospitals in Ghana (Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Tamale Teaching Hospital and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital), all Regional Hospitals, 125 District Hospitals, 14 Health Centres and eight mobile clinics.

The equipment received by the hospitals varied from:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines;

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan, Fluoroscopy Machine, X-ray Machine, Digital Mammography machines, Oxygen Plants to Ambulances, he stated.

Dr Boamah who is a trained medical doctor further explained: “Under this programme, the nation’s foremost teaching hospital, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, received significant resources to replace and rehabilitate obsolete equipment and theatres”.

The Pediatric Surgery Theatre, which remained closed for almost eight years, the General Surgery

Theatre and the Babies’ Unit have all been refurbished and are currently operational, he added.

These unprecedented investments are not only changing lives but are also beginning to yield results as evident in the positive Human Development Indicators currently being recorded, according to him.

The latest Ghana Health and Demographic Survey revealed considerable improvement in Infant Mortality, Child Mortality, Under-five mortality, Percentage of deliveries in health facilities, as well as maternal and ante-natal health care.

The survey showed that whereas infant, child and under-five mortalities stood at 50, 31 and

80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008, they dropped to 41, 19 and 60 deaths per 1000 live births respectively in 2014.

These perhaps explain why Ghana is doing well against its peers in the area of health.

Ghana has recorded a decline in its Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013 against global reduction of 45%, according to United Nations (UN) report.

The report released by Trends in maternal mortality, a Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG) of the UN said MMR had reduced from 760 in 1990 to 380 in 2013 and expected to drop further.

While the rate of Skilled Attendant at Birth (SAB) to delivery cases had gone up from 60.3 percent in 2010 to 63.1 percent in 2013. This is also expected to improve further, according to health workers.

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