General News of Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Some brain tumor patients at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) are at risk of dying because the hospital is unable to use neurosurgical equipment it was offered to treat such diseases.
The Walter Reed Military Medical Hospital in the USA donated the $10million equipment to Ghana but authorities of KBTH and the Health Ministry say they are unable to raise 250,000 dollars to import the equipment from the USA for use in Ghana.
The two institutions are engaged in a confused tango over who has the responsibility to ship the equipment to Ghana.
In the midst of that confusion, brain tumor patients who are unable to raise a whopping 50,000 dollars to fund their brain surgery in South Africa or India are sent home to die a painful death.
Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey reports that the equipment has been sitting in the US for the last five years but neither the Ministry nor the Hospital has shown any commitment in raising the $25,000 to import them to Ghana.
Even though the Ghanaian doctors have the expertise to conduct the surgeries they do not have the requisite equipment to carry them out.
Worse still, post-surgery complications are said to be disastrous without the equipment, Nartey learnt.
He spotted a number of the brain tumor patients lined up in the hospital counting on hope and divine intervention to survive their predicament.
A huge number of those patients do not have the financial muscle to raise the $50,000 for treatment abroad.
In an interview with Joy News, Gloria, a family member of a brain tumor patient said the situation is heart-wrenching.
“I don’t even want to mention the figure the reason being that it was just the basic-$50,000-to send her [abroad],” Gloria said.
She added the doctors were frank with them about the risk involved in conducting such surgeries in Ghana, especially without the requisite equipment.
While the patients and their families wail in frustration over their inability to raise funding sum for the surgeries abroad, doctors at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital are themselves hopelessly frustrated with the absence of the equipment to conduct the surgeries.
Head of the Neurosurgery at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital said Dr Thomas Dakora told Nartey: “These equipment are very important because we don’t have them and we need them for safe management of the patients who have brain tumors and severely injured brains. We need the equipment to be able to look after them or operate on them effectively.
“We are very frustrated by the process,” he said.
He added if Government cannot even buy the equipment, the least it could do is to raise the needed sum to ship the donated equipment to Ghana.
However, the Ministry of Health also claims it does not have the resources to ship the equipment.
Dr Nicodemus Gerbeh, head of the biomedical engineering unit at the Ministry said because of resource constraints, Korle Bu hospital should find the money and buy the equipment.
The Medical Director of Korle Bu Teaching hospital Samuel Asiamah has intimated that the project is an expensive venture adding “as we speak Korle Bu doesn’t have this kind of money to ship the things down so I think the mother ministry should be able to sort this out for all of us.”