Health News of Sunday, 10 February 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has shut down sections of its X-ray department to make room for the upgrade of facilities to reduce the recurrent breakdown.
But the exercise is causing distress among patients as they either have to cope with the long winding queues at the Korle Bu Polyclinic, one of the units at the X-ray department, or seek the service elsewhere outside the hospital.
At the main X-ray unit on Wednesday, there was a long queue of people waiting to be attended to.
The story was not different at the polyclinic where a distressed Emmanuel Ackon, who had to shuffle his mother in between the hospital and the polyclinic, told the Daily Graphic that, “The up and down is only wasting our time. Especially when at the polyclinic, if you don’t submit your papers by 8 a.m., you’re late and won’t be attended to.”
Mr Alfred Lamptey, who accompanied his friend with a tumour in the leg, also shared a similar experience.
“It is a terrible experience. Since November last year, we’ve been to two different places that do X-ray and the places were shut down. We went to the polyclinic and the place was down. We were told it was because of the pressure from Korle Bu. In the end, we had to go to the Kaneshie Polyclinic,” he said.
“If we are told that the place is not operating, we could go elsewhere and have it done rather than endure the trouble we are going through,” he added.
Responding to the concerns, Mr Mustapha Salifu, the Public Relations Officer of the Hospital, said the service had being affected because of the work being done to replace some of the equipment.
“Because of that, we are not able to run all the machines as we used to since some of the old machines are being taken out and new ones being installed as a replacement. We have installed a new top of the range CT scan which can do 640 slides at a time. Currently, what we have is just about two slides,” he said.
He, however, indicated that the hospital still had some of the X-ray units operating on emergency cases.
“But we still have a reserve. We don’t want the department to be completely out of service so we have left some of them to be attending to emergencies.”
According to him, the exercise is part of on-going government projects to retool public hospitals across the country.
“Korle Bu is receiving a huge chunk of the package for new MRI and CT scan. At the end of the exercise, Korle Bu would have two MRIs and two CT scans and a number of X-ray machines spread across. There are other areas that are also receiving equipment.”
“If you go to the Child Health Department, they are receiving an X-ray machine so that children will not be moved from their ward for other departments. Under the same package, the children block will get three theatre suites. Similarly, the children will not be moved to the surgical block for their operations.”
In that respect, he said the theatres which were commissioned in December last year by President John Dramani Mahama would soon be deployed for use.
“All these would reduce the difficulties and the challenges of both patients and staff.”
While expressing the hope that the initiative would be completed on time to serve the needs of patients and staff of the hospital, he was, however, not sure about the timelines saying, “All the deadlines for the completion of the projects differ. In some places, they have done all the installations already and the equipment are being used but there is more work is being done at the Radiology Department.”
“This is being done to enhance the service we provide to the general public but it comes with inconveniences and we want to apologise for those inconveniences and to urge them to bear with the hospital and the contractors.”
“When we complete this exercise, it will be to the benefit of the patients in the first place, and the staff who use the facilities to deliver services to the patients. We just urge them to exercise restraint in due course, the projects will be completed. It is to serve the patients, that is why we are doing this. It is just to make the service better,” he added.
According to 2011 Annual Report of the hospital, the outpatient department (OPD) X-ray attendance at the Radiology Unit has been reducing over the last three years.
While in 2009 5,488 people accessed the X-ray facility at the hospital, the figure reduced to 3,879 in 2010. In 2011, the statistics is 3,879.
The report listed the challenges confronting it to include, “the lack of equipment at the X-ray unit rendered the unit non-functional and it still remains closed” and “inconsistency in the supply of consumables such as gloves and cannulae still persist though it has improved a lot.”
To arrest all the challenges, Mr Salifu said, “Another new digital X-ray machine has been installed; it is left with a power regulator on the system before we start using it.”
The hospital, last week, suspended its Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services to the public to pave way for routine maintenance works.