Ga West Municipal Hospital NICU marks 1st anniversary with great successes

Anniversary Facility
Anniversary Facility

The Clayman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), of the Ga West Municipal Hospital (GWMH) at Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region (GAR), has recorded great successes a year after its establishment in November 2020.

The Unit, recorded a total of 564 admissions between November 2020 and October 2021, out of which 333 representing 59 per cent were males, and 231 (41 per cent) were females.

Ms Alberta Martey, the Senior Nursing Officer at the NICU, presenting the success story of the facility at its first anniversary celebrations, said out of the admissions, there were 451 discharges, representing 87 per cent, 40 in-referrals and only 11 referred outside for specialist care.

A total of 15 babies died in the period under review, representing three per cent of the admissions.

She said before the NICU was established, babies born with complications were referred to other health facilities for medical attention and that the birth of the NICU had brought great relief to the people, adding that, now, the Hospital referred only two per cent of neonates with complications.

Ms Martey, said the NICU had a staff strength of 20 professionals, including a Paediatrician, seven Paediatric Nurses, two General Nurses, four Midwives, five Enrolled Nurses and a Health Aid, rendering quality healthcare to all neonates in Amasaman and its environs.

She said at the top of the most seen cases and conditions at the facility were neonatal jaundice, followed by neonatal sepsis, prematurity, and birth Asphyxia, adding that other situations such as cord sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome, cord bleeding, hypoglycaemia, and big baby (Macrosomia).

Ms Martey said despite the successes chalked, the facility had serious challenges, including ward space inadequacy, insufficient phototherapy light, lack of cabinets for keeping neonates clothing and other belongings, and a refrigerator for storing medications and expressed breast milk.

She said the Hospital needed Neonatal pulse oximeters, Firefly phototherapy units, Continues Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Perfuser, Thermometers, Incubators, Bilirubin meter, and Glucometers, monitors, Baby cots, and baby clothing and called for support from all.

Dr Matilda Dono, a Paediatrician at the NICU, commended the management and staff for their immense contributions towards the success story of the Facility, saying the anniversary, which also coincided with the World Maturity Day, underscored the importance of neonatal health, and the need to raise awareness to galvanise support to save lives.

She said global statistics showed that 15 million babies were born preterm (before 37 weeks), and that one in 10 of those born prematurely faced death, accounting for the high mortality rate of newborns, but then 75 per cent of the fatalities could be prevented with focused investment in equipment in NICU facilities.

Dr Dono said the out of the 564 admissions at the Hospital’s NICO, 64 were preterm babies, accounting for 11.4 per cent, and that so far, there had been only four deaths, representing 0.7 per cent, with the least weight being 0.8 kilogrammes.

She said some contributory factors to preterm delivery by mothers were infections, vigorous activities, age (below 16 or above 35 years), chronic medical illnesses such as hypertension or diabetes, and trauma.

Dr Dono said twin delivery and fetal distress could also trigger that effect, and advised all pregnant women to take antenatal visits seriously and avoid engaging in tedious jobs.

She explained that preterm babies faced higher risks of death or head to toe complications due to the underdevelopment of their body organs, such as the brain, eye, ears, mouth, chest, Git, renal, and blood, leading to cognitive, visual and hearing impairment; feeding and dental challenges; respiratory, heart and kidney problems, as well as jaundice.

Mr Nii Clement Nii Lamptey Wilkinson, the Ga West Municipal Chief Executive, commended the NICU staff for their hard work and dedication, which had saved the lives of many babies, especially those born preterm and pledged support.

Dr Eric Sarpong Ntiamoah, the Chief Executive Officer, GWMH,said the Municipality, the most densely populated in the Greater Accra Region, needed an ultramodern infrastructure to cater for the health needs of the people and called for support from stakeholders.

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