Rebecca Akufo-Addo PICU saves lives of more children at Korle-Bu   

By Lydia Kukua Asamoah  

Accra, Jan 31, GNA- The establishment of the Rebecca Akufo-Addo PICU at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) some four years ago, has tremendously improved child health care. 

 The centre has saved the lives of over 56 per cent of children who visited the facility within the period. 

KBTH authorities said the lives of about 79 children had been saved because they were able to access quality emergency services at the facility while over 700 neonates and children under 12 years have been cared for within the last four years 

The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of KBTH, established under Mrs Akufo-Addo’s Rebecca Foundation, upon the request of the management of the hospital in 2019, currently provide emergency care for children under 12 with the majority needing ventilators to help them survive. 

The PICU was constructed with state-of-the-art building technology and fitted with the latest equipment to ensure efficient health delivery in a friendly and comfortable working environment. 

It has a clinical laboratory, clinical pharmacy and office, main reception with staff rest area, staff training and meeting rooms and changing rooms all fitted with disability-friendly toilet and bathing facilities. 

The facility has its own fully furnished changing rooms, resting rooms, and ablution facilities with showers, offices, and consultation rooms, among others. 

The revelation became known when Mrs Akufo-Addo and her Guyana counterpart, Mrs Arya Ali, visited the PICU to assess operations there. 

Madam Ali was in the country with her husband, President Irfaan Ali, who was on a state visit to Ghana.  

Mrs Akufo-Addo, together with Mrs Ali, visited the PICU and the Sunshine Hostel, which houses children with cancer and their guardians as they receive care and treatment. 

Mrs Akufo-Addo assisted in constructing the Hostel too. 

Dr Frank Owusu Sekyere, Director Medical Affairs, KBTH, who together with Professor Christabel Enweronu-Laryea, Head of Child Health Care, KBTH, took the two first ladies round the facility, and gave updates about the operations there. 

Dr Owusu Sekyere said the Department of Child Health did not have an Intensive Care Unit, so they were happy that the first lady came in to establish the PICU, which has a very high dependency unit and an Intensive care unit that offers ventilating support services for the children.  

He said, “At least, at the last count, 147 children were put on the ventilator out of which 79 children survived and “walked freely from this facility.” 

“Previously, four years ago, we could have recorded all 147 mortalities. 

Prof Enweronu-Laryea, on her part, said that since the place opened in 2019, there had been good results with many children passing through the facility and becoming well again. 

Prof Awo Renner, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit, KBTH, who took the two first ladies around the Sunshine Hostel, said the facility hosts more than 30 children and their guardians at a time and that over 200 children and their parents have so far stayed at the facility since its construction.  

The facility had helped reduce the treatment abandonment rate from over 40 per cent to less than 15 per cent. 

“And that translates into improved outcomes, and better survival rate as well,” she said. 

Prof Renner said there was also an improvement to indirect social cost to the family, adding that “parents do not have to think of where they are going to stay, their transportation and even feeding; and that also help curb abandonment.” 

The mothers too are taking through beads craft as income generating so that when they go back home, they would be able to get something to rely on, she said.  

She said both the children with cancer and their guardians are fed daily for free. 

This hostel is the envy in Africa and globally. I boast about it wherever I go for a conference, and they are amazed at the input of the First Lady.” 

The facility has been invaluable to us, she emphasized. 

“The hospital has actually made a huge impact in the quality of care for cancer patients.”  

The naming of the ultra-modern PICU after Mrs Akufo-Addo, according to the authorities of the KBTH, was in appreciation of the many lives her benevolence would “save as well as her continued love and dedication to the health needs of children and mothers.” 

According to the hospital authorities, the Child Health Department was a referral point, which received cases from across Ghana and the sub-region, with most cases requiring intensive care. 

The increasing patient numbers received, as against the Department space, made admission challenging and compromised the quality of care. 

Meanwhile, Mrs Akufo-Addo said the purpose of their visit was to assess the current conditions of the facilities since they were built and commissioned for use.   

The First Lady and Mrs. Ali toured the facilities and donated air conditioners to the PICU and some food and other consumables to the Sunshine Hostel.