The First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Rebecca Akufo Addo has moved to support the Maternity Block of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital after a pathetic revelation from a documentary aired by Joy News.
The documentary showed the death of new born babies and mothers for lack of space at the facility. A suggestion for an additional facilities saw many willing Ghanaians to support.
The first lady in her statement said, the contribution by the individuals will go a long way to save maternal deaths up to 60-80% as a new unit will be built to take four times the number of mothers and babies admitted at the hospital.
Mrs Akufo Addo launched the Save a child, save a mother project and called on all individuals, organizations, institutions, businesses, religious groups and other groups and associations to contribute to the fund to improve facilities at our health institutions.
The event which is targeted at raising an initial GHS10 million to put up a new Mother and Baby Unit for the largest hospital in the Ashanti Region, as well as other referral hospitals, saw companies such as GHACEM, producers of cement, and Promasidor manufacturers of cowbell donating money and other items.
So far, the event spurred on by complications mothers and their newborn babies face at the Mother and Baby Unit at KATH, raised GHS 7,695,444 in cash, cheques and pledges.
Get the full speech by first lady on the KATH Documentary;
Your Excellency the second Lady Mrs Samira Bawumia,
Honourable Members of Parliament
Honourable Deputy Minister
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished members of the Clergy
Management and staff of Multi-media Ghana Ltd
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am touched to see so many of you at this fundraising event. God bless you for coming.
The cry of a healthy new born baby pierces the air. The smile of a mother radiates happiness, gratitude and wonder. This is a picture we are all familiar with. But this is a picture that eludes or very quickly fades for some families in our dear Ghana.
A few weeks ago Joy News begun to air a very disturbing documentary, on the awful conditions at the Komfo Anokye maternity block. Not soon after that, Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng and his colleagues came to my office and presented the documentary to me and Mrs Samira Bawumia. (Thank you Seth and your team for bringing this to the attention of Ghanaians.) What we saw simply horrified us. New-borns were dying and mothers were dying. The reason? Lack of space.
The result is that, we have a very congested maternity ward, packed with expectant mothers. The documentary showed two heavily pregnant women sharing a single bed and in other cases two beds had been joined to accommodate three. We saw mothers lying on the floor and on hard benches. There is so little space that some women in labour have to hold on until the labour rooms are free. This is what our pregnant women endure. This deplorable situation leads to about 200 maternal deaths every year, at Komfo Anokye.
We also saw the mother and baby unit. Built to take about 60 babies, the unit is forced to take between 100 and 120 babies. This unit is highly congested with 3 to 4 babies in a cot. What happens then is that on a bad day 6, to 7 babies die. Some days as many as 10 babies die. At the preterm unit, several babies occupy an incubator, meant for one baby, making it so easy for cross infection. It was simply heart-breaking to watch.
We immediately decided something must be done. Not only because we are mothers, but because fate has put us in positions where we simply had to act. Like Esther in the bible we felt that God had put us in our positions for a time like this. We were a bit apprehensive though. How were we going to find the money to do what we had to do? We knew then that, we needed the support of generous, compassionate individuals and organizations like you.
The authorities at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, have made it clear that having some additional space would greatly improve the situation. As we have heard earlier,this facility that serves Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, the three regions of the North and even parts of central and Western regions. Simply put we decided to find the money to build a single story, maternity ward. Acting now will save so many lives.
This new unit, will make a real difference. This may sound like a lot of figures, but please bear with me. I need to tell you the exact difference your contribution will make. Currently the maternity centre has 2 delivery beds and 2 operating rooms with only one functional. The new unit would have 5 delivery beds, 3 operating rooms and 4 emergency delivery beds. At present we only have 3 working incubators, and 4 phototherapy units. The new unit would be equipped with 20 incubators and 20 phototherapy units. The current facility uses natural ventilation which makes the place really hot. The new unit would be an insulated building with forced cooling. (By the way please don’t ask me. That’s a technical term)
The new unit will allow KATH to take in four times the current number of infants and mothers. Ultimately the projection is that this new unit would reduce the avoidable deaths by 60-80%. I believe we would all be happy with this outcome.
So far we have had some pledges, and some donations, but we are far from what is needed. Let me at this stage thank the Japanese government through their embassy in Ghana and others who wish to remain anonymous, for their kind donation to the project. We need the support of all of you here to build this facility. No mother should lose her life giving life to another. No child should lose their life, before they have a shot at life.
I’m here to ask you to make a pledge or donation in cash or in kind to the Komfo Anokye maternity unit project, and other similar projects across the country. We did some research and discovered a lot more of our health facilities need help. The plan is to finish the KATH project and move on, to other health facilities. Our goal here today is to raise a minimum of ten million cedis for starters.
Please think carefully about the stories you’ve heard today and help save our mothers and children. The cry of a healthy new born baby pierces the air. The smile of a mother radiates happiness, gratitude and wonder. This is the picture we all want.
I hereby launch the Save a child, save a mother project and call on all individuals, organizations, institutions, businesses, religious groups and other groups and associations to contribute to the fund to improve facilities at our health institutions.
At this point I would like to call the contractor Eric, to give us a brief description of the project. Trust me, when you see what we intend to do, you will give more than you planned to.
God richly bless you for your generosity. Have a good evening.
Thank You very much