The Ga East Municipal Hospital, Kwabenya, is set to begin full operations of public healthcare delivery next month, April 2021. This was announced by the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah, during the celebration of their one-year anniversary of fighting against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Saturday, 20th March 2021 at the Hospital at Kwabenya.
The Ga East Municipal Hospital was commissioned by the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on 6th November 2019, to improve and increase access to quality healthcare for the people of the Ga East Municipality and other adjourning municipalities.
However, barely three (3) months after its commissioning, on the verge of the official commencement of operations, the 100-Bed Capacity Hospital become pivotal in the nation’s combat of the spread of COVID-19 as it was designated as the main National COVID-19 Treatment Centre in March 2020, following the outbreak of the pandemic in Ghana.
Just three months of operations as COVID care centre, the hospital becomes host to the construction of Ghana’s first-ever Infectious Disease Centre (IDC), a novel initiative made possible through the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, to complement it in treating COVID-19 patients.
One year into COVID care at the hospital, Management organised a programme on Saturday, 20th March, 2021, to celebrate their first year’s fight against the pandemic.
Speaking at the function, the Medical Superintendent of the Ga East Hospital, Dr. Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah, explained how their one-year journey in the fight against coronavirus has been.
“On the 21st of March 2020, we had our first case of the coronavirus. We were very scared seeing how people were dying by this same virus. But 365 days down the line, we have adjusted to the situation and as at now, we have managed about 2,600 patients of which staffs are included, and 39 people who have sadly passed on”, he indicated.
Dr. Oduro-Mensah expressed his gratitude to the staff who volunteered to be on duty to cater for the COVID patients.
“I thank the doctors, nurses, cleaners, who took time off their busy schedules to be on duty to help manage the covid patients”, he added.
The Medical Superintendent appealed to citizens to desist from the stigmatization of infected persons and the hospital but should rather support the patients and encourage them so they can recover fully.
“The stigmatization of recovered COVID-19 patients and the Ga East Municipal Hospital has become unbearable that people do not want to visit the hospital. COVID-19 has come to stay with us and we as a people must be supportive of those infected especially those in isolation in their various homes. Depression is killing a lot of people and so the least care from a family will go a long way to help”, he stated.
He further advised citizens to follow all the safety measures that have been put in place because of COVID, cautioning that it is real and not a myth.
“We must not let our guards down but rather follow all the safety protocols such as the wearing of nose masks, the practice of physical and social distancing because COVID is still in the system”, Dr. Oduro-Mensah admonished.
Dr. Oduro-Mensah also expressed his profound gratitude to all institutions that donated Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other items to the Ga East Municipal Hospital to help in treating the COVID patients, citing in particular, Toyota Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, Bank of Ghana, GB Foods (producers of Gino products) and the National COVID-19 Trust Fund among others.
Dr. Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah disclosed that the facility was set to open to the public to access various healthcare services available and assured the general public of professional services and safe use of the Hospital.
“From April 2021, we hope to open the hospital fully to outpatient services and emergencies. Our special clinics; the Dental Unit, Eye, E&T, Orthopedic, Physiotherapy, etc. will become fully functional. These units are far remote from the COVID areas and those who patronize our services will not be at any risk of exposure to COVID-19 patients. Our clients are assured of full professional services from us”, he indicated.
“Our main ward, however, will remain reserved for COVID-19 care for now until we receive the all-clear from our Director-General through our Regional Director of Health Services to open up the place for public use”, Dr. Oduro-Mensah further stated.
The Managing Director of GB Foods, Mr. David Afflu spoke about the vital role their company has played in supporting the facility to fight the pandemic by funding and furnishing the Wellness Centre which was later handed over to the Management of the Hospital for use.
“Our decision to provide a Wellness Center to the Ga East Municipal Hospital is born out of our purpose to empower our local leaders to bring out their best”, he stated.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Abokobi, Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah revealed how hard it was for her to make a decision when it was proposed that the Hospital was going to be used as a COVID-19 Treatment Centre.
“It was a very tough decision to make looking at the mixed reactions from the people in the Municipality and other areas”, she stated.
She also showed her profound appreciation and admiration to the workers of the hospital.
“A year in combating the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana, I believe workers in this facility can proudly raise their shoulders high and heads up for honours because you have worked tremendously and tirelessly to save many lives through your selfless, committed, and dedicated service to our dear nation, Ghana while risking your own lives and your family and relatives. We say a huge kudos to the team here at the Ga East Municipal Hospital and everyone involved in the operation of the facility as the National COVID-19 Treatment Centre”, she said.
She further appealed to every Ghanaian to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols and also go for the vaccine because the vaccine is safe.
“Permit me to use this occasion to appeal to all Ghanaians to continue adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols and also go in for the vaccine when it is your turn. The vaccine is Safe!”, she encouraged.
The Hon. MCE also seized the opportunity to appeal to all institutions and corporate bodies to donate PPE and other items to the facility for smooth and effective work.
“We are not out of the woods yet and I am therefore appealing to all and sundry to support this facility with PPE, food items, especially fruits and vegetables, and any other thing that could facilitate their work to ensure that they continue to serve and save lives and prevent us from contracting the virus”, she said.
The National Coordinator for COVID-19, Dr. Ali Samba, who is also the Medical Director for Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, disclosed how the Ga East Municipal Hospital has been of tremendous help to the people of Ghana, and also thanked the Hon. MCE for her approval in allowing the hospital to be used as a treatment centre.
“Ga East Hospital actually saved Ghana. If we didn’t have the facility at that time, it would have been a disaster. So whatever God does is good. The delay in completing the hospital stemmed as a blessing to mother Ghana. We also thank the MCE very much for allowing us to use such a brand new facility as a COVID Treatment Centre. There were a lot of setbacks but at the end of it all, the Ga East community itself feels proud that they have been able to help mother Ghana manage COVID-19”, he remarked.
The first COVID-19 patient to be admitted at the Hospital, Mr. Fred Drag, was present at the function. He shared his experience, advised, and also encouraged the workers to continue with their good work in helping Ghana.
Awards were presented to deserving staff for their hard work, dedication, and care, and support they have shown to all patients admitted at the Hospital.
A cake was cut to celebrate and symbolize the successes chalked within the first year.