The Nursing Superintendent of the Edwin Cade Memorial (AngloGold Ashanti) Hospital, Janet Osei has appealed to the Ghana Health Service to post nurses to the hospital to help in health care delivery in the Obuasi municipality.
She said the downsizing of the AngloGold Ashanti mines had led to the retrenching of nurses from the previous 106 to 47, adding that the few nurses available were struggling to cope with the workload.
Mrs Osei said the hospital had been under intense pressure in the municipality during the industrial strike by the medical officers in the public service, because demand for healthcare had shifted to the hospital.
The 80-bed occupancy hospital is being manned by five doctors including a surgeon, three physician assistants and visiting doctors, attending to a daily average of 350 out patients and 40 in-patients.
She made the appeal in an interview with a team from the Africa Media and Malaria Research Network who visited the hospital here on Thursday to acquaint itself with the Insecticide Residual Spray (IRS) which was being carried out in the municipality to fight malaria, by the AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (Agamal).
Mrs Osei said although the number of nurses had been reduced due to the downsizing of the hospital staff by the management of the mines, the occupancy rate had not reduced resulting in nurses working above themselves to deliver healthcare to the people.
The nursing superintendent said the hospital used to record 90 per cent of its patients being workers of the mines and the 10 per cent from the hospital’s catchment areas, but the reverse was now the situation, where 90 per cent of people coming to the hospital were from the Obuasi Municipality, adding “during the doctors strike, we were under pressure”.
The Medical Supt. of the hospital, Dr James Assenso- Barnie, said the IRS had helped to reduce the incidence of malaria cases at the facility, saying that the Children’s Ward that used to be overcrowded with children lying on the floor with malaria cases was now virtually empty.
“We now have about three or four reported cases of malaria in days, which are often imported cases,” Dr Barnie said, adding jokingly that “now I do not know how to treat malaria cases”.
He said for over two years now, the people in the catchment area do not inundate the hospital with malaria cases, adding that it had affected the income generation of the hospital.
Dr Assenso-Barnie said the major complaints at the hospital were musculoskeletal pains (injuries), joint pains, upper track infection, lifestyle diseases as hypertension, diabetes among others.
The medical superintendent said the hospital adhered strictly to the Test, Treat and Track policy of always administering anti-malaria drugs based on laboratory confirmation as against the diagnostic treatment based on clinical signs of malaria.
Dr Barnie lauded the IRS programme in the municipality saying, “We can eliminate malaria with the tool”.
From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman, Obuasi