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General News of Monday, 2 February 2009

Source: GNA

Declining resources confronts Sunyani Regional Hospital

Sunyani, Feb 2, GNA - Dr Daniel Asare, Medical Director of the Regional Hospital, in Sunyani, has noted that the greatest challenge facing the ultra-modern health facility is the dwindling financial support and other resources from the central government and other agencies.

"We are faced with the Herculean task of managing the hospital with only revenue generated internally", he said at this year's get-together and awards ceremony in Sunyani at the weekend.

The medical director stressed the need for the seven-year old hospital to be managed as a business entity so as to break even and possibly make some savings to take care of administrative costs and capital projects.

Dr Asare said the hospital, however, exceeded its revenue target by more than 30 per cent during the year 2008 and "this goal was achieved through good financial management practices and the strengthening of internal control systems that helped to reduce revenue leakage to the barest minimum".

He said the hospital started the year 2008 with a host of priorities in mind including raising the level of care and service, motivate staff to perform their best, maintain infrastructure and equipment for quality health care through planned preventive maintenance and reduce maternal deaths by 50 per cent.

"The hospital had a chequered performance during the year under review as it performed creditably in certain areas but failed woefully to achieve some of its indicators", the medical director noted.

On the positive side, Dr Asare said the hospital recorded more deliveries in 2008 than in 2007 as a result of the free maternal delivery policy introduced by the then NPP government in July 2008. The number of eye cases soared astronomically and the turnover per bed increased considerably from 1.3 in 2007 to 3.0 in 2008, he said, adding, more people enlisted into the national health insurance scheme as the ratio stood at 70 per cent and 30 per cent for insured and non-insured respectively as against 65 per cent to 30 per cent in 2007. "We acquired one 15 seater Nissan Urvan bus and 4 x 4 Nissan Pick Up vehicle to complement its fleet of vehicles from the hospital's internally generated fund", the medical director said.

Dr Asare said these achievements notwithstanding, the hospital was unable to achieve some of its key targets, citing that there was a drop in out-patient attendance, decline in admission and a reduction in bed occupancy rate from 65 per cent in 2007 to 57 per cent in 2008. There was an upsurge in the number of maternal deaths from 12 in 2007 to 17 in 2008, a sharp drop in operations apart from eye and obstetric and gynaecology operations, whilst accommodation continued to haunt the hospital, thereby losing some essential staff posted to the hospital.

Dr Asare said the health facility was also weakened financially by the delay in reimbursement of services rendered to national health insurance clients by insurance schemes, as it lost GHC 33,668.84 in 2007 through waivers to paupers.

He however gave assurance that management intended to offer good quality service to the hospital's clients, systematically and continuously improve on emergency care and improve access to maternal and child care.

The medical director added new services like neurosurgery, mammography screening, dermatological services and special clinics for diabetics would be introduced this year.

Dr Aaron Offei, Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, who was the guest speaker, stressed the need for discipline, punctuality and professionalism among the staff who he commended highly for helping to maintain the health facility for the past seven years. He emphasized that they could not deny the people quality health care and urged the staff to exhibit teamwork at all times towards the achievement of the desired goals.

The regional director urged both management and the staff to work to meet the expectations of the people and to continue to provide excellent health care delivery in the region. Deserving staff members were presented with long service awards and for dedicated service.

Daasebre Amankona Diawuo 11, Omanhene of Berekum Traditional Area, who is a surgical specialist at the hospital, presided and commended the health and cordial relationship between management and staff. He noted that with prudent and efficient management practices the hospital, one of the best in the country, would continue to offer quality healthcare delivery to patients.