Thousands of people that seek healthcare services at the Tain District Hospital are at the risk of losing their lives, if power supply to the Hospital by the government through the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) remained disconnected over GH¢7 million, the Member of Parliament for the Constituency, Hon Adama Suleman has said.
According to him, the District hospital provides general and specialized services for the people of Tain and Banda districts and headed by a surgeon with clinical support from 3 medical officers and staff strength of about 350.
Already, one person has died and many at risk of dying, Hon Sulemana MP said in a very solemn manner in an interview with EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, after a statement on the floor of parliament on Friday, December 8, 2023.
He said power supply to the health facility has been disconnected because of huge debts of bills, explaining that, since the commencement of operations in the new facility on 6th September 2021, it has been billed electricity to a total of GHC7, 791,132.50. Monthly bills range between GHC350, 000 to GHC500, 000.
“Mr. Speaker, out of this amount, however, the facility has managed to pay a total of GHC75, 000. 00, an average of GHC10, 000 per month. This was budgeted based on the facility’s monthly generation. On the average, the facility generates between GHC250, 000 to GHC300, 000 monthly comprising both drug and services. Electricity bill payment can only be made from the service account which is about 60% of the generation (GHC125, 000-175000),” he told parliament.
Following that, parliament has directed the Ministries of Energy and Health to collaborate in finding a lasting solution to the matters over the electricity supply to health facilities across the country.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, who was on the chair, said hospitals must not experience any form of power cut in their healthcare delivery.
The health facility was reportedly disconnected in October by NEDCo over the unpaid debt but was later reconnected after a series of engagements between the power distributor, management of the hospital and other key stakeholders.
Nonetheless, the MP for Tain, Adama Sulemana urged Parliament to compel the government to bear the electricity cost for the effective running of the Tain District Hospital.
Below is the Full Statement of the MP
STATEMENT ON THE ELECTRICITY DISCONNECTION AT TAIN DISTRICT HOSPITAL BY HON SULEMANA ADAMA, MP, TAIN
Mr. Speaker, the Tain District Hospital is a 60-bed capacity facility located in Nsawkaw, the district capital. It is an ultramodern facility sited at the outskirts of the town on the Nsawkaw-Wenchi highway. It is one of nine hospitals projects executed by Euroget De Invest (EDI) S.A. projects in Ghana. Furthermore, it provides general and specialized services for the people of Tain and Banda districts. It is headed by a surgeon with clinical support from 3 medical officers and staff strength of about 350. The facility has an average attendance of about 3800 patients a month.
Mr. Speaker, since commencement of operations in the new facility on 6th September 2021, the facility has been billed electricity to a total of GHC7,791,132.50. Monthly bills range between GHC350,000 to GHC500,000.
Mr. Speaker, out of this amount, however, the facility has managed to pay a total of GHC75,000. 00, an average of GHC10,000 per month. This was budgeted based on the facility’s monthly generation. On the average, the facility generates between GHC250,000 to GHC300,000 monthly comprising both drug and services. Electricity bill payment can only be made from the service account which is about 60% of the generation (GHC125,000-175000).
The implication being that bills submitted by NEDCO is twice the total generation of this hospital and about three times the generation of the account that can service the bill.
Problem: Despite commitments to do payments within its means and budget, and also in spite of an agreement that the MOH and the NEDCO reached that no facility should be disconnected, the facility was disconnected from the national grid by the NEDCO on Friday 13th October 2023. Reconnection was done only after extensive negotiations, pleas, media engagements, and involvement of public, political and traditional leaders, on Thursday 19th October 2023. It
has however been disconnected again on the morning of Tuesday 12th December 2023.
Mr. Speaker, as of Friday, 28th October 2023, the following alterations and disconnections had been made as suggested by engineers of the power distribution company as interventions to reduce consumption.
Mother Housing (Relative Lodge): All 10 air-conditioners disconnected. All 4 heaters disconnected.
Medical and Surgical wards: 36 out of 43 air-conditioners disconnected.
6 out of 12 heaters disconnected. Staff dining: 3 out of 4 air-conditioners disconnected.
The single heater there has also been disconnected.
Radiology Unit: 7 out of 12 air-conditioners disconnected.
Single heater there disconnected. Physiotherapy Unit: 3 out of 9 air-conditioners disconnected.
All 2 heaters disconnected. OPD/Main Pharmacy: 8 out of 50 air-conditioners disconnected.
All 7 heaters disconnected. Administration: 5 out of 50 air-conditioners disconnected.
Single heater in there disconnected. Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD):
3 out of 6 air-conditioners disconnected. All 2 heaters disconnected.
Maintenance Unit: 5 out of 7 air-conditioners disconnected.
Street lights: 39 out of 104 street lights disconnected.
Walkway: 85 out of 128 bulbs disconnected.
Chiller to be put on only on some days (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
Emergency Unit: 4 out of 8 heaters disconnected.
Staff housing: 30 out of 45 heaters disconnected.
Mr. Speaker, in as much as these would significantly reduce electricity consumption in the facility, significant equipment rundown is very likely with implied financial losses to the government on these investments according to the site engineer for EDI. An initial assessment was done with the centralized air-condition switched off for 2 weeks except Tuesdays and Thursdays. The impact was as follows.
Blood bank fridge broke down due to a rise in the ambient temperature beyond 30*C. Currently, yet to be fixed. Gene Xpert test had to be suspended due to an unconducive ambient temperature and a likelihood of machine breakdown. The newly procured Full Blood Count machine had to be put off for the the the same reasons. Generally, an unconducive atmosphere for optimum functioning of laboratory equipment.
Drugs including vaccines under storage conditions were compromised and there were suggestions to transport those drugs to the District Health Directorate.
OPERATING THEATRE/ RECOVERY UNITS:
These areas are directly served by the centralized air-conditioning system, without which there’s practically no aeration within. The suggestion to put up split air-conditioning systems will lead to a loss of laminar or unidirectional airflow in the theatre (which is internationally recommended) and a resultant turbulent flow. The installation of these split units will lead to the loss of antibiotic painting used in the construction, as the walls will be chiselled through. Thus, sterility in the theatre will be lost and a turbulent flow of air in the theatre will result instead of the recommended laminar flow.
RADIOLOGY, ANTENATAL, LYING-IN
The need to break down the glass panels at the waiting areas of the Antenatal Clinic, Radiology Unit, and the Laboratory Units. These will be replaced with windows to improve aeration of the area. With the current set-up, air-conditioning is the only efficient means of ventilation.
The need to put up ceiling fans at the Lying-in wards, Antenatal clinic, Child Welfare Clinic, Public Health Unit, parts of the laboratory, and the Emergency Unit which had all been built to be aerated by the centralized air-conditioning system.
Mr. Speaker, due to the latest disconnection, the following is the current state of the hospital. All surgeries have been put on hold and being referred to the Methodist Hospital, Wenchi. All referrals to the facility are also being redirected to nearby district hospitals. The Light wave Health Information Management System (LHIMS), for seeing patients and prescribing, can’t be used. Thus, patients are being seen on sheets of papers without access to their medical history and investigations. Water pumps within the facility is totally dependent on electricity and shuts down within 30 minutes of an outage. Thus, taps are currently running dry in the facility. Communication systems which are all linked to electricity have been shut down.
Mr. Speaker, I am by this calling you and the house to urge government take up the full cost of electricity to help maintain this modern facility serving the good people of Tain and Banda Districts. These districts are considered deprived and can’t in any way take up the full cost of operating this facility.
I thank you for this opportunity.
Source : expressnewsghana.com