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Akatsi Municipal Hospital: A Journey of Progress and Perseverance

Akatsi Municipal Hospital: A Beacon of Hope

In the heart of Akatsi in the Volta Region of Ghana, stands the Akatsi Municipal Hospital (AMH), a beacon of hope and healing for its community. From its humble beginnings as a dental clinic in 1992 to its current status as a Municipal Hospital, AMH has undergone significant transformations over the years. Despite facing challenges, the hospital has achieved remarkable milestones, reflecting its commitment to providing quality healthcare services to the people it serves. The facility is currently manned by the current core management, led by the Medical Superintendent Dr Iris Dzifa Adzah.

Evolution and Mission:

Established as a dental clinic in 1992, AMH swiftly evolved into a health centre in 1996 and later attained the status of a district hospital in 2007 before achieving municipal status in 2021. Despite these upgrades in status, the hospital’s infrastructure and equipment have not kept pace, posing challenges to service delivery. However, guided by its mission to provide compassionate holistic healthcare, AMH remains dedicated to promoting healing, fostering innovation, and empowering its diverse community to achieve optimal well-being.

Facilities and Services:

With a capacity of 75 beds and a staff of over 250 members, including two (2) doctors, two (2) physician assistants, four (4) physician assistant interns, one hundred and fifty (150) nurses and midwives, and fifty-one (51) supportive staff, AMH offers a range of essential healthcare services with the help of another forty-one (41) temporary worker (IGF-Staff). These include Outpatient and Inpatient Services, Emergency Care, Theatre Services, Laboratory and Pharmacy Services, Maternal and Child Health, ART, and Public Health Services, as well as specialized units for Dental, ENT, and Eyecare. Recent additions such as diabetes/hypertension clinics and wellness programs underscore the hospital’s commitment to addressing evolving healthcare needs.

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With the help, coordination, selfless dedication, commitment, and hard work of gallant nurses, midwives, wards/units/departmental heads/in-charges, as well as other non-health staff, the seemingly dark days of the facility are changing into one of hope and zeal for better healthcare outcomes.

Achievements:

Despite facing challenges, the current management led by Dr Iris Dzifa Adzah during the year under review in 2023 has achieved significant milestones.

Some but to mention a few,

  1. The facility secured accreditation from the Medical and Dental Council to train Physician Assistants (PAs) which currently has four (4) PAs as interns. This will help bring out the best physicians in the region and country to help clients in various communities across the country.
  2. The ASMH under the current management secured sponsorship from private organizations to embark on health talk on two private radio stations twice a week. These programs are proudly sponsored by Empac Group of Companies.
  3. Additionally, the facility lobbied for a two hundred and fifty-five-litre (255-litre) capacity blood bank fridge from the Akatsi South Municipal Assembly. The municipal responded to this need promptly which is currently helping the facility in diverse ways.
  4. Under the current management, there is a regular supply and availability of resources (essential medicines, consumables and non-consumables) to staff of the facility to render services to clients. This has motivated staff to continuously carry out their duties without worry, hence making healthcare delivery more timely, cost-effective, and across-the-board increasing client attendance.
  5. There has been a complete re-wiring of the laboratory and a replacement of the electrical motherboard of the facility due to power fluctuations that were affecting our equipment. This was carried out after recommendations from the Ghana National Fire Service outfit in the municipality. This aims at prolonging the life span of most equipment used in the facility, thereby saving the cost and lives of our clients.
  6. Currently, there is an ongoing painting, face-lifting and rehabilitation of the whole facility.
  7. Successful implementation of the Lightwave Health Information Management System (LHIMS) in the facility. The LHIMs system, which is now being piloted nationwide, aims at uniquely identifying every client with a single ID that can be used in all health facilities nationwide, thereby reducing duplications and redundancies. The staff of the facility were trained on its usage for effective outcomes.
  8. Indebtedness has decreased drastically, by 62.2%, from 2022 to 2023. With the help of the core management, under the leadership of Dr Iris Dzifa Adzah, the facility, which was previously struggling with indebtedness, reduced it by 62.2%, bringing the facility back on its feet and assuring all partners and stakeholders of a better future with the needed support and quality healthcare delivery.
  9. Revenue generation also increased from 2022 by 30% in 2023 due to the effective implementation of various programs and policies.

Restoring the IPC Team: Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a focal point of task execution in most health facilities; as such, the need for its focal trainers to be well-equipped has become imperative for better healthcare delivery. The IPC team for the year under review trained new staff and provided refresher training for old staff on various IPC protocols, the use of PPE, and barrier nursing in executing their daily tasks.

Other projects include the ongoing installation of CCTV cameras for improved security within and around the hospital. This became necessary to make staff feel safe at work and also help security workers at the facility monitor the immediate surroundings of the facility to protect property and lives.

The establishment of a pregnancy school is helping pregnant clients keep up with the needed education on the various stages of their pregnancy. This initiative is already bearing fruit, as there has been an increase in client attendance for Antenatal Care.

The restructuring of the data validation committee for increased efficiency. In today’s global world of data and analysis, especially in health, the data validation team has been able to provide the facility with vital key point indicators on various health conditions, client attendance, wait times, and staff evaluation. This has immensely helped the facility to quickly tackle issues that the data validation team brings to the fore for improved healthcare delivery.

Additionally, efforts have been made to reactivate blood mobilization projects. These initiatives are helping the facility secure adequate blood for the blood bank and this has helped pregnant women who come to seek care and crisis as well as severely anaemic clients.

Restoration of HIV/TB clinics. With the help of these clinics, clients with these conditions have been identified and are receiving treatments as well as proper counselling. This has also helped in executing an effective contact tracing system where those exposed to these clients have been brought to the facility for counselling and begun the necessary treatments to curb the spread.

Alongside, the sponsorship of Quality Improvement programs by USAID, it is helping staff render better healthcare delivery to clients who visit the facility. This has helped increase client attendance for the year 2023.

The hospital has also opened its wellness clinic for the general public to utilize regularly. This initiative enlightened the people of Akatsi on the need to come for regular checkups even when they feel fine to help them know their state of well-being free of charge, and it has already started yielding results.

The cervical and breast cancer clinics for the year under review did tremendously well, intensifying education on cervical and breast cancer and the need for examination to help identify cases early and begin early treatment. This was met well with clients visiting on clinic days to have themselves educated and examined. With the rise in cervical and breast cancer globally, this unit’s effort is helping sensitize the communities on the condition and why one needs to be examined.

The diabetic and hypertensive clinics also played a vital role in the success gained for the year under review. Their efforts complement the work of the facility by educating clients on the conditions, causative factors, and management.

Furthermore, collaboration with stakeholders helped in addressing logistic shortages, which were a major difficulty in previous years. By making logistics available for staff to work with, staff have been able to deliver care consistently and promptly, reducing the number of referrals to only clients that needed to be referred for advanced medical care.

Also, in addition to staff end-of-year motivation being restored, all energy-consuming air conditioners in the facility have been replaced with energy-saving ones, which is helping cut down on the cost of energy consumption in the facility and making work better for both staff and clients. These efforts, coupled with the general staff motivation initiative, have contributed to the revitalization of specialized clinics and seen a significant increase in OPD attendance, underscoring the hospital’s commitment to effective healthcare delivery.

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Challenges and Resilience:

However, AMH is not without its challenges. The hospital faces constraints such as;

  1. Uncompleted and abandoned hospital expansion project, which consists of a theatre, male and female wards, CSSD and laundry, mortuary, and twelve (12) pieces of staff accommodation. This makes it difficult to treat clients, as the number of beds and space to accommodate clients are limited. This has also made it unfavourable for clients, leading them to patronize facilities that are very far away from them and making access to care difficult for them.
  2. The facility not being fenced exposes staff and clients to potential security threats, and this has been a major concern for management, staff, clients, and the community at large.
  3. The non-mechanization of IGF staff is unduly putting stress on the finances of the facility, hence preventing management from executing other important projects.
  4. The shortage of doctors in the facility has also been a major worry for management. This comes with lots of pressure, as the doctor-to-client ratio in the facility makes it sometimes difficult for optimum care provision. From our investigations, the last time a Medical Doctor was sent to the facility was in 2021.
  5. Old electric wires, which, with time, have been overloaded. A case in point was the theatre that was also gartered with fire as a result of voltage overload in March 2022.

Akatsi Municipal Hospital

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the journey of Akatsi Municipal Hospital is one of progress and perseverance. Despite facing obstacles, the hospital continues to serve as a lifeline for its community, providing essential healthcare services and striving for excellence in the face of adversity. With ongoing improvements and a steadfast commitment to its mission, AMH stands poised to overcome challenges and continue its vital role in promoting health and well-being in Akatsi and beyond, hence calling on the government and other philanthropic agencies to render their support where applicable for better healthcare delivery to the people of Akatsi and its environs.

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