Limited capacity of healthcare facilities in the Wa East District has saddled these facilities with many challenges in rendering quality and timely healthcare services to the about 93,000 residents.
The district currently has 48 health facilities, which are all for primary healthcare, 38 Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds, and 10 health centres.
Dr Pascal Kingsley Mwin, the Wa East District Director of Health Services, said this in Wa in an address to the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament on the status of healthcare and access in the district.
“What this means is that we cannot provide emergency obstetric and newborn care services in any of the facilities in the district, hence such cases must be referred out of the district amidst the daunting challenge of bad road and poor telecommunication networks in most communities,” he said.
Dr Mwin said last year alone, a total of 388 cases were referred, out of which half were pregnant women, because of the lack of a secondary healthcare facility in the district.
He said the situation had led to preventable deaths, especially involving pregnant women.
“A recent case is the one we lost last year in an ambulance to Wa when I personally had to operate on her in an ambulance with a razor blade in an attempt to save the baby midway when the mother died,” he said.
As part of efforts to mitigate the challenge, they had prioritised setting up a theatre space at the Bulenga Health Centre to enable them to provide theatre services whilst waiting for the upgrading of the facility to a polyclinic status.
Dr Mwin said the structure for the theatre had been identified but much work needed to be done as the glass doors, tiles, air-conditioner, lighting, and ceiling works were yet to be completed and appealed for donor support to complete the project.
“Getting a polyclinic urgently or a theatre facility will improve service delivery in the district, especially the emergencies, and hence reduce the cost of referral,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the Agenda 111 district hospital project ongoing at Funsi would soon be completed to reduce the plight of the people in the area.
The doctor-to-patient ratio in the district of 1:93,168, was a big challenge as the district relied on a single medical doctor, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sulemana Ewurah Kandia Mahama, the Wa East District Chief Executive, said the Assembly had provided two tricycle ambulances to two health facilities in deprived communities in the district – Hollomuni and Ducie communities – to improve access to healthcare.
Mr James Baba Anabigah, the Speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, said he was saddened by the health service situation in the Wa East District, especially the lack of specialists, owing to the lack of accommodation.
The Youth Parliament donated GH₵5,000.00 to support the upgrading of the Bulenga Health Facility to a polyclinic status.