General News Tue, 31 Jan 2012

Overcrowding: Korle Bu sits on time bomb – Dr Amoo warns

Dr. Philip Amoo, Head of Public Health Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, is attributing the outbreak of killer bacteria at the Children’s Block of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to over-crowding.

He told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story on Monday that “this was a time-bomb waiting to happen” and called urgent measures to address the infrastructure deficit at the nation’s leading tertiary health facility.

Health authorities at the KBTH have been battling for more than one week now to contain the outbreak of the deadly bacteria, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococus Aureus (MRSA), leading to the closure of the children’s emergency ward.

Though the authorities continue to struggle in efforts to contain the bacteria, they are challenging media reports it killed three children. This is in spite of the fact that five children were infected with the bacteria.

Dr Amoo conceded in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story that poor management of referrals in the country has created overcrowding and overburdened the hospital, thereby overstretching it beyond its capacity.

He said such overcrowding could exacerbate the spreading of bacteria at the hospital, but quickly added “Unfortunately …… however you try under the circumstance we are dealing with, we've had these cases in our hand. In fact it’s been a time bomb more or less, but for the hospital’s infection control measures, it would have been daily occurrence… [The situation] could have been far, far worse.”


Asked why the hospital would keep admitting patients when they are aware facilities there cannot support it, Dr Amoo remarked that doctors were compelled to continue admitting patients to the ward, albeit, involuntarily, because about 90 per cent of children rejected are likely to die.

“If we turned the patients away, as I am saying, 90 percent of the instances, it means sentencing (them) to death. The beautiful hospitals you are seeing around – private, government – they can’t handle the cases. ”

He attributed the cause of the bacteria to the public’s abuse of antibiotic drugs. He said most patients fail to take the full course of drugs prescribed to them. This, he said, has made the resistant bacteria common in many communities.

He appealed to the Ministry of Health to stepped in and implement an effective referral system to curtail the level of referrals, which he said is “too high” in the county. Other stakeholders have also been called upon to help improve the facilities at the hospital.

Contributing to the interview, the Director of Medical Affairs at the hospital, Prof. Afua Hesse, said there is no cause for alarm because they are working around the clock to contain the bacteria.

Source: myjoyonline