A Case for a fitting Jasikan District Hospital

It is important to discuss the current condition of the Jasikan District Hospital, in the Buem Constituency of Oti Region, which determines healthcare delivery in the area.

The crux of the matter is that people are making a case for a fitting hospital as a basic need in the catchment area of the health facility.   

A brief insight into the antecedent of the Jasikan District Hospital will help the authorities to appreciate the request being made by the people.

 The facility was built in the early 1950s and managed by the Buem-Krachi District Council as Jasikan Clinic.  In time, it was turned into, or rather named, the Jasikan Health Centre, operating from the old structure (now temporarily housing the National Health Insurance Scheme office), built by the District Council. 

Through the initiative of some private citizens of Buem, the current structures of the hospital were started in the late 1970s.    

The Jasikan Health Centre was elevated to the status of a hospital in 2002, without a corresponding upgrade in infrastructure.  The hospital serves at least 72,000 people in the Jasikan enclave, and clients from adjoining districts of Biakoye and Kadjebi and even beyond.

The 53-bed capacity Jasikan District Hospital has only two wards -. the general ward and maternity ward.  The general ward caters for males, females and children, which does not allow for privacy and good clinical care.  The ward has  a woeful inadequacy as it lacks an emergency unit, individual male, female and children’s wards. 

The hospital neither has a morgue, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Unit, proper Eye Unit, Physiotherapy Unit, Dental Unit among other facilities,  yet it goes by the name a district hospital.

The average daily Out-Patient Department (OPD) attendance is 140, excluding Antenatal Care (ANC) and Reproductive and Child Health Services attendance (average of those two is 40).

The only enduring holding of the hospital is that it has a 72-unit acre land of which one-third  is currently occupied.  This land has been so utilised that there is enough space for building a complete hospital on the land left.

Sometimes it is eye-opening and informative to make comparisons to bring the picture closer, more poignantly.  The Akatsi South District Hospital in Akatsi, for instance, was also elevated from the status of  a health centre in the same year as the Jasikan District Hospital. 

However, the stark disparity in the provision of facilities at these two facilities is so revealing that one is tempted to ask what the people of the Jasikan District have done wrong to deserve so much less.

Most of the time, the people within the catchment area of the Jasikan District Hospital complain about the level of services and would prefer to go outside the district for medical care at dire cost.

The Akatsi health facility has seen major infrastructural upgrade with the addition of a female ward, a children’s ward, mortuary, an operating theatre as well as numerous residential apartments. 

Additionally, the Akatsi South District has been earmarked for one of the 88 district hospitals, as announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,  to be built in Akatsi town where an upgraded facility already exists.

Let’s cast our minds back to the broadcast by the President, announcing the building of 88 new district hospitals across the country. 

We recall that for the Oti Region, the President mentioned that five  district hospitals would be built.  People in the region know, as the health authorities do, that there are three district hospitals quite well-structured: Worawora, Nkwanta North and Kete Krachi.  The region has the St. Mary Theresa Hospital (private) at Dodi-Papase, in the Kadjebi District, and the St. Joseph’s Hospital (private), at Nkwanta, in the Nkwanta South Municipality.    

The rest of the districts, therefore, left to fit into the President’s allocation are: Nkwanta South, Kadjebi, Krachi East, Krachi Nchumuru and Jasikan.

However, it is surprising that a list of four was submitted by the Oti Regional Health Directorate, minus Jasikan District.  One is immediately tempted to ask where the fifth allocation is and why Jasikan District has been left out.  In truth, this is disconcerting!        

As one Kelvin Alan Lee put it: “In my opinion, our healthcare has failed when a doctor fails to treat an illness that is treatable.”  At the Jasikan District Hospital, however, doctors have been thrust into a situation that makes it impossible for them to even treat the treatable ailments due to the non-availability of the basics of a district hospital.  Under these circumstances, our doctors, though very capable, keep referring clients to other health facilities in other districts.  Do we blame them?

In making a case for a fitting district hospital for Jasikan district, it is just paramount to state that for a district established on  December 8, 1952, with its headquarters at Jasikan (the mother district from which the rest of the districts, including the traditional areas of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe, of the Oti Region were hived off), the mother district has remained for the past 68 years without a decent hospital worth its name.

Another critical point to take note of is the location of the Jasikan District Hospital, which lies along the major the Eastern Corridor  and the closest to the rail line that is earmarked to go through the Jasikan District.

 The nodal positioning of Jasikan in this context, within the Oti Region, lends credence to the issues raised, which provides the basis for the necessity to provide a new well-equipped hospital or upgrade the existing one to respond to current healthcare needs in the area.

Overall, our humble appeal to the government is that Jasikan District be added to the list of hospital projects or a special-purpose project be arranged for facilities  befitting Jasikan District Hospital.      

The writer is a retired Public Servant

By Richard Adjei

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