The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, has explained why the refurbishment of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Keta government hospital has stalled.
“As soon as the financing is secured, the Maternity Ward and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Keta Government Hospital will be refurbished,” he told Parliament on Thursday, November 9.
According to the Minister, the general policy of the Ministry is to improve the physical state or retool all the existing hospitals to meet the standards of care required for the proper functioning of medical facilities.
He said, “the Ministry submitted a request, based on a needs assessment carried out by the Ministry, to the Ministry of Finance to fund the refurbishment and or retooling of hospitals that have obsolete equipment or rundown infrastructure.”
Responding to question asked by Member of Parliament for the area, Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey on plans the Ministry has towards the construction of a new Maternity Ward and a new NICU for the Hospital, the Sector Minister on the floor of Parliament, mentioned that the construction of a new Maternity Ward and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit came to his attention during his visit to the facility, and “with the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry put up a Treatment and Holding Centre for Infectious Disease at the place to respond to emergencies, which is currently in use”.
He stated, “our engagement with the Member of Parliament during the construction phase of the infectious disease centre influenced the design for a possible vertical expansion due to the limited land availability.”
He, however, acknowledged the fact that “Keta Municipal Hospital is a 20-bed facility, which may appear small for the population size of a municipal hospital, with the Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit (NICU) requiring some refurbishment. However, the maternity and neonatal wards are not overstretched”.
“The Ministry of Health acknowledges that the population of Keta, (which stands at about 82, 000, is below the 100, 000 threshold to qualify for a district hospital, has grown over the years, and hence the need for an upgrade.”