Missing Babies: Komfo Anokye Reviews Operational Procedures

Following the missing babies’ saga, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) is reviewing all its standard operational procedures, the Chief Executive of the hospital, Professor Ohene Adjei, has said.

Addressing heads of various departments of KATH at its 2013 performance review meeting in Kumasi Thursday, Prof. Adjei said where necessary, new standard operation procedures must be developed to address the emerging challenges.

He brought into focus the missing baby corpse saga that recently hit the hospital and said the new operational procedures were intended to, among other things, forestall the recurrence of missing bodies.

On February 5, this year, a baby boy was stillborn at KATH but the body, which was supposed to have been sent to the mortuary by the mortuary attendant, was rather picked up by the cleaner who tidied up the ward that day.

The cleaner, Baba Abeley, claimed to have picked up the box containing the body of the baby and two others and sent same to the incinerator for burning.

Following that, aggrieved family members and friends of the mother, as well as sympathisers, subjected doctors and nurses at the hospital to some beatings.

Prof. Adjei described as “overwhelming” the number of patients who reported at the hospital, compared to the severely limited space, because of KATH’s position as the sole specialist referral facility in the northern part of the country.

For instance, the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Directorate of KATH currently admits twice as many, the number of patients its capacity could accommodate, which has made the directorate operate not under ideal conditions.

Prof Adjei recalled the strikes by doctors and pharmacists of the hospital last year and appealed to them to use dialogue to pursue their demands for improved conditions of service because strikes by the two bodies affected both health delivery to the people and the finances of KATH.

Last year, medical doctors and pharmacists of the hospital went on six-week and three-week strikes, respectively.

According to Dr Adjei, in addition to the astronomical cost of consumables and equipment maintenance, the strike “impacted negatively on our performance and finances”.

He said the hospital also missed some targets, including ward admissions, which were 38,000, as against a target of 40,500, while 23,000 surgical operations were carried out, as against a target of 26,000.

Consultations totalled 230,000, against the targeted 250,000.

Nonetheless, he said, deliveries went up to 11,200, as against a target of 11,000, while radiotherapy services increased to 6,100, compared to a target of 2,700.