KBTH to procure new DNA machine

Plans are underway to purchase a new DNA machine for the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) almost four years after the equipment was allegedly sold off to the Trust Hospital in Osu, Accra.

Chief Executive Officer of KBTH, Dr Daniel Asare gave the hint in an interview when the Ghanaian Times followed up on happenings at the facility a year after it carried a story on halted DNA tests at the laboratory.

Reacting to possible findings of the committee established to investigate the matter after the story broke, Dr Asare noted that, “I didn’t come to meet any committee in place so can’t speak to that but that case is dead and gone. We don’t have DNA machine, it was sold to Trust Hospital long time ago.

However the new management and board is making arrangements to get the hospital a new one as soon as possible,” he said.

Checks at the hospital indicate that though the committee established to probe the matter had engaged some staff to aid investigations, its findings and recommendations had been shrouded in secrecy causing the problem to persist.                                                                                                  

“The past Chief Executive Officer did not release the report till he was relieved from post so we do not know what the committee’s recommendations were and no steps have been taken since then to operate the DNA laboratory,” a source at the facility told the Ghanaian Times upon a recent visit.

According to the source, the laboratory still receives requests from the courts and “individual walk-ins” but has had to refer such cases to other facilities.

“This molecular facility was going to serve as a training and centre of excellence for teaching and research into emerging diseases such as cancer and congenital malformations of newborns.

Korle Bu has the expertise in manpower, market name and record of excellence to revive the DNA laboratory but it’s unfortunate that it’s only a pale shadow of itself.”

It would be recalled that in its February 6, 2018 edition, the Ghanaian Times reported that the €178,000 molecular biology laboratory for conducting DNA (Deoxyribonucleric acid) tests such as paternity, karyotyping and mutation analysis at KBTH was non-operational.

The facility established in 2010 made Ghana the first on the West African sub-region to have the capacity to carry out DNA tests.

Since 2015 till date, Korle Bu has been without the machine compelling persons seeking to conduct DNA tests to take referrals to other health facilities such as the Trust Hospital, and the Forensic Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for help.

In the story carried then, it emerged that KBTH operated the machine for only two years as it was unable to fulfil contractual agreement with suppliers of the equipment.

It was alleged that the machine was sold off to the Trust Hospital in Osu, Accra and has been operational since then.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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