Tamale Teaching Hospital appeals for hostel for mothers of preterm babies

Some mothers of preterm babies sleeping in the open at the TTH
Some mothers of preterm babies sleeping in the open at the TTH

The Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) needs a hostel facility to accommodate mothers of preterm and other sick babies on admission at its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

This mothers’ hostel will provide respite for the mothers, who do not currently have a designated area to rest and freshen up while their babies are on admission at the NICU of the Hospital.

This is a major challenge, especially for mothers, who are referred from other districts or regions in the Hospital’s catchment area.

Dr Alhassan Abdul-Mumin, Head of Pediatrics and Child Health Department of TTH, speaking to Ghana News Agency in Tamale, said the lack of a hostel facility affected mothers of preterm babies disproportionately as this group of babies were more likely to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time.

He stated that although the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) unit attached to the NICU provided space for mother and baby to stay together, it had only seven beds, which was not enough for the large number of mothers and babies, who should be admitted there.

This situation compels mothers waiting for KMC beds and others whose babies do not qualify for admission to the KMC unit to sleep in the open or sit in chairs while their babies are on admission.

The NICU of the TTH admits more than 3000 babies a year, many of whom (30%) are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy).

The care of these babies could be demanding of both health care workers and parents.

Parents need to be in their right frame of mind to contribute meaningfully to the care of their babies and the importance of adequate rest cannot be overemphasised here.

This is why the lack of appropriate rest rooms for the mothers at TTH requires urgent attention.

According to Dr Abdul-Mumin, the TTH NICU, which served as the only tertiary referral facility for northern the northern part of the country, had other major challenges affecting the provision of high quality care for small and sick newborns.

These include inadequate working space, insufficient functional incubators for the care of preterm babies, and erratic power supply, which affects oxygen delivery to the unit.

He added that the Paediatrics and Child Health Department, in general, had inadequate clinical care areas for the expanding number of specialist services it provided.

He said the department was the only major clinical department of the hospital that was without a dedicated building.

He, therefore, urged the government and other stakeholders in health to revisit the issue of the final phase of the expansion project of the TTH, which would deliver a 150-bed capacity block for the department to enhance the care provided to the future leaders of the country.

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