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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Columnist: Vicky Wireko

Korle-Bu Hospital roads need resuscitation

Opinion Opinion

Last week I did some rounds within the city of Accra. I was in the Cantonments and Labone area. I was also at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Passing through some areas in Adabraka and ending the working week with a visit to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the stark difference with all these places visited was the conditions of the inner road connections. Unfortunately, Korle-Bu seems to have been the odd one out. A skewed priority was my verdict.

Premier hospital
Korle Bu, the country’s premier teaching hospital and referral centre, gets disappointing sometimes. Disappointing because being a premier health institution, one tends to expect so much. I have an emotional attachment to the hospital because it saved first my life and then my legs decades ago.

If it were today, I am sure my parents then, would have given up all hopes. Korle-Bu then was a true premier hospital in every sense and with everything to show. It is difficult to stick one’s neck out for the Korle-Bu of today.

My visit last week to Korle-Bu took me to the Dental School Clinic, one of the few good departments still standing and working as expected within the limited constraints. After my treatment, I decided to drive around the hospital. The inner roads within Korle-Bu broke my heart. They are simply not the type for any hospital, more so, a major one like that.

Deplorable roads
From the side entrance coming from Bishop Bowers School through to the dental school, the bumps in the roads and the potholes were too glaring. The state of the roads and streets became even more depressing as one drove through the hospital.

From the Allied Hostel road to the Medical School hostel, the Nursing and Midwifery Training Centre, the Medical School mortuary road past the physiotherapy department and the newly opened eye clinic. I continued past the entrance of the medical block to the main entrance and headed on through the children’s block to the maternity block descending down to the Ghana Medical Association offices, the story of the roads was virtually the same. Below expectation.

Yet, these are roads inside a referral hospital where ambulances are coming in all the time with critically ill or injured patients. They are roads that taxis and some private cars being used as improvised ambulances, rush patients in for care. If bumpy roads and potholes are hindrances, one can imagine how it feels for the critically injured or the sick person being rushed in.

So, why would roads and streets within a premier referral hospital be kept in this sub-standard state while those of some residential areas are being given first-class priority? It is good to have residential roads sorted out, after all we pay property rates and taxes. But sometimes, priorities must be placed where they are most due.

Street and ward naming
If one day someone decides to accord Korle-Bu roads a priority status, then the street naming exercise should be extended there too. With several departments, units, wards, outpatients and emergency blocks, pharmacies, to name but a few, road naming and that of buildings as well with directional signs, going forward, would help with easy location.

It would also give the hospital a good look. We have scores of pioneer doctors and medical administrators who have served Korle-Bu well in the past. The alphabetical labelling given to units, wards and blocks could appropriately be named after past medical officers and administrators for their contribution to Korle-Bu and their country.

Korle-Bu paints a picture of a forgotten institution. Uncompleted structures and boarded up buildings standing for months and years, weedy and littered areas around the hostels and indiscriminate parking are all not too good to the eyes.

he premier hospital deserves some greens and flower beds. It could do with sparse benches at critical areas for outpatients and visitors. The dusty bumpy space between the children’s ward and the maternity ward being used as a parking lot, even if temporary, needs some work done to lessen the amount of dust blowing around and in the middle of two critical blocks.

Some eyes must be turned to Korle-Bu. Our premier teaching and referral hospital needs some oxygen, a more vibrant and cheerful outlook to convey some hope. What Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital really needs are some smoothly levelled inner roads, beautiful and tidy gardens and flower beds, properly demarcated public parking lots and a much more inspiring outlook. Will these take a whole lot? Perhaps not with some national priorities in place.