First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has inspected progress of work of the new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra, expressing satisfaction with the work, which would be finalized by the end of March.
The new Paediatric Unit (baby and child), would serve as a one-stop-shop, health care unit, containing laboratory centre, a pharmacy, a neonatal intensive care units (NICU), a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) a counselling Unit, a bank, among others, with the aim to save the lives of children and babies from unwanted deaths.
The current old Children's Unit that is almost incapacitated, lacking many essential provisions and tools, is said to be recording many child deaths, which could have been prevented easily.
For instance, authorities told the journalists who accompanied the First Lady to inspect the new facility on Thursday that, four children had died at the Emergency Centre the previous night, with one other child dying at the NICU.
Statistics made available to the media also indicated that from 2013 to 2018, a total number of 5,555 children had died at the children's Unit.
It revealed further that, out of that number, 828 children died in 2018, 910 died in 2017, and 998 died in 2016.
The First Lady who was visibly impressed with the progress of work, commended the contractor, Africa Building Partners (abp), for satisfactory work done, saying, "I can't wait to commission it soon".
She later visited the Emergency Unit of the Child Health Unit to fraternise with the children and their caregivers there.
Mr Stephan Coret, Project Director and Engineering Partner, abp, who showed the first Lady round the project, said his firm also designed and built the facility, which was being championed by the First Lady.
He said all the finishing touches would be done for the facility to be handed over to the authorities.
Professor Ebenezer Badoe, Head of Department of Child Health, KATH, thanked the First Lady for her timely intervention to the Unit, to help save the lives of the many children who are sent to the leading tertiary hospital that was so overwhelmed by the huge numbers of patients that patronise the facility for health care.
The PICU project, which is being facilitated by The Rebecca Foundation, is expected to ease the pressure at the old Children's Unit and complement the provision of quality healthcare at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
In line with scheduled timelines, it is expected to subsequently be furnished with the state-of-the-art equipment.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, cut the sod for the construction of the Unit in June 2018.
The facility is said to be needed urgently, to help provide emergency services and save the lives of children that are referred to the Paediatric and Neonates Unit at the Department of Child Health at the Hospital.
It is said to be a modern fully equipped PICU for the Children's Block, which would take care of children that are admitted through the emergency ward and are either Intensive Care or high dependency patients.
The KBTH, the leading national referral centre in Ghana, receives patients including children, from all the regions of the country and from other West African countries like Togo, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
The Children's Block at Korle-Bu has, for many years, been working under some tough conditions with deplorable facilities, extreme congestion and lack of adequate equipment making treatment extremely difficult, hence, the urgent need of a facelift to provide optimum care for children.
Authorities of the hospital, therefore, took the opportunity of the visit of the First Lady to the hospital in February, 2017, to appeal to her, through her Rebecca Foundation, to assist in getting a new PICU for the Teaching Hospital.
The requests included the construction of a hostel for parents of children on cancer treatment, which was progressing steadily and that of the new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Mrs Akufo-Addo took the challenge up and, through her Rebecca Foundation, and in consultation with the management of the hospital, prepared the grounds to cut the sod, marking the beginning of the construction of the new centre.
The gesture, is in line with the Rebecca Foundation's pledged towards proper child healthcare and a cessation of infant mortality in the country. Consequently, funds were solicited to start the construction.
The facility, that would have its own fully furnished changing rooms, resting rooms, ablution facilities with showers, offices and consultation rooms, is expected to help improve the working conditions of doctors and nurses.
The new KBTH Paediatric Unit has been built within an area of 1,500 square meters, including the main building, access areas and supporting infrastructure.
To continue with the effort of providing infrastructure that requires lower operating costs, the building is said to be EDGE certified by the IFC (World Bank Group).
It used strong durable materials that would offer significant savings in energy, water and carbon footprint versus similar structures.
The new PICU would be able to admit 41 children through six different areas; five in main Paediatric Intensive Care Room, one Paediatric ICU Isolation Room, 14 in Paediatric High Dependency Room, 10 in Neonatal ICU Room, seven in Neonatal High Dependency Room, and four in Neonatal Isolation Room.