Regional News of Sun, 25 Jan 20040

Pregnant women refusing to deliver at health facilities

Tamale, Jan. 25, GNA- Records at the West Hospital in the Tamale Municipality showed that out of the 10,000 pregnant women who attended antenatal services only 841 of them delivery at the hospital.

Dr Obeng Adjei, Medical Superintendent in-charge of the Hospital announced this at the end of year party of the staff of the hospital in Tamale on Saturday.

He urged the midwives at the hospital to encourage pregnant women to take advantage of the "free delivery package" instituted by the government to deliver at the hospitals to reduce complications and deaths through childbirth.

He said in the year 2002, the hospital recorded 34,312 patients at its Out-Patient Department (OPD) but this rose to 39,550 last year, representing 64 per cent increase.

Dr Adjei said most the cases recorded at the OPD were malaria related and called for environmental and personal hygiene consciousness among the people to reduce the incidence of the disease.

He announced that last year the hospital disbursed 495 million cedis on its exemption package and called on the government to reimburse it to continue to implement the scheme.

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He commended the Tamale Municipal Assembly for constructing an eight-seater KVIP and biogas facility for the hospital while also putting up a female ward with finances from the HIPC Fund. The Medical Superintendent said inadequate staffing and poor environmental conditions at a time when the hospital was undergoing expansion at all sectors of the hospital were undermining quality health delivery.

The hospital also lacked such facilities as blood bank, mortuary and theatre as well as means of transport for its outreach programmes. The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Elias Sory, announced that child delivery at government and private hospitals were free and urged the staff to educate the public about the existence of the scheme to benefit pregnant women.

He said teaching hospitals were exempted under the scheme but noted, however, that patients referred from the district hospitals to any of the teaching hospital would be treated free of charge. Dr Sory told the staff that the National Health Insurance Scheme was with them and urged the staff to work harder to bring its implementation to a success.

He said various committees had been formed in the region to ensure the smooth implementation of the scheme and appealed to the public to cooperate with them.

He announced that renovation work would soon start at the old hospital to serve as children's ward and called on squatters to vacate. Dr Sory also urged the public to stop indiscriminate defecation at the hospital premises, saying, " we have bought down materials for its rehabilitation to put it to good use."

Source: GNA

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