Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital: Bad maintenance culture syndrome unacceptable

KORE BU OLD Korle-Bu is considered the premier health care facility in Ghana

Wed, 19 Dec 2018 Source: Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane

Before I start recounting this carefully calculated tale, I would like to issue a disclaimer that I do not have anything against anybody who might be offended that this story is coming out this way.

However, I deem it fit to use this medium to carry my message across because it is in the best interest of a lot of people given that Korle-Bu is considered the premier health care facility in Ghana.

I would like for us to briefly delve into the history of when and how Korle-Bu was established. I believe this will help put things into perspective and encourage us to advocate for its maintenance and possible renovation.

Korle-Bu is known to have been established in the year 1923 to cater for the needs of the natives. The hospital takes pride in having grown from an initial 200-bed capacity to a 2,000-bed capacity. However, a number of these beds are out of order further reducing the bed-occupancy to a significant amount which contributed to the No-Bed-Syndrome era. This has been an age-old problem from the time I was in my 2nd year in medical school. Till date, most of the beds are not without fault. This is not problem number one but one of the hospital’s many woes.

In 1953, there were recommendations for the government to expand the hospital which it did at the time.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and the buildings themselves are an eyesore. Yet this should serve as a place for treatment, rehabilitation and if ever possible - rejuvenation.

The surgical department which is a 6-storey- building is no exception to this rule. When any of the elevators are faulty, it can sometimes take even months to be repaired. This can be said of one of the elevators at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department which has still not been repaired as at the last time I checked. I do not remember the last time the surgical Block was renovated either. As a matter of fact, parts of the building leak due to some cracks in the walls, most of the louvre blades are broken and coupled with the fact that there are few curtains, mosquitoes have free access and privacy is thrown out the window.

The same scenario can be pictured while walking towards buildings around the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. Water leaks from the top of these buildings as though they were 'showers of blessings'.

Aside all these, there are cracks in many walls that have gone unnoticed by the authorities but I do not want to wait till the walls start caving-in or till there is a news-worthy collapse before I begin to write. What then is my use as a journalist if I do so? And what then is the use of the various people in power if they see this article and do not act on it? We all have a role to play. Building on that, I would like to know what the internally generated funds in Korle-Bu are used for.

If it turns out that the government can no longer run the hospital, can it be made a profitable organisation then?

In the interim, is it possible for the management of Korle-Bu to find innovative ways of dealing with its dilapidated facilities before they receive any possible assistance if any?

Being a medical student in Ghana, I have heard a countless number of times that there are certain equipment that are not available to us or the popular saying is "we have this machine but it was only one and that one has even broken down". Today, I heard from one of my patients that she had to go all the way to another hospital because the X-Ray machine in Korle-Bu had broken-down. I sighed to myself with my hand supporting my chin.

So when will things start working in this country?

The only way possible is to demand that the right thing is done.

It is unacceptable that we have an abysmal maintenance/renovation culture.

It is unacceptable that the authorities we put in power have misplaced priorities.

It is unacceptable that we have money to build a cathedral and think that God will bless us when people are still dying of poverty and hunger.

It is unacceptable that some hospitals do not have ambulances yet our leaders are prioritizing drones because someone needs that drone-contract.

It is unacceptable that we are the only country in history able to find thousands of dollars to fly across continents to footballers during a World Cup(yes, I will never forget) yet anytime a plea is sent for an extra drug to be added under the NHIS, the excuse is that the spine of the NHIS might break.

Lastly, it is unacceptable that you do not find all these things happening. Unacceptable.

Columnist: Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane