National Cardiothoracic Centre launches 35th anniversary  

By Hafsa Obeng, GNA  

Accra, June 12, GNA – The National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCTC), Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has launched its 35th anniversary celebration with a call for the establishment of a National Heart Institute in the country.  

Dr Kow Entsua-Mensah, Director, NCTC said the future of the Centre lay in a National Heart Institute that would comprise a multi-disciplinary but well fitted institution with many units and departments working together to enhance the heart health of Ghanaians and Africans.  

He said after 35 years it was a fact that the nature of many heart diseases encountered now were different in what pertains in the test books.  

“We have the task to lead Africa in a ground breaking research into heart disease that affect us as Africans. We need to rewrite textbooks on cardiac education in African and lead the research and advocacies for behavioral change.”  

He said the theme for the celebration, “Cardio at 35: A legacy of excellence, a future of perfection”, gives them the opportunity to reflect on the lessons inherent in the evolution of the Centre over the past years.  

Dr Entsua-Mensah said the highlight of the celebration was to pay tribute to the founder and first director of the Centre, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, who identified his calling and stayed true to it, despite the rugged nature of the road.  

He said it was difficult to imagine Korle Bu without a Centre as it had performed 13,451 surgeries for both Ghanaians and nationals from other west African countries.  

It has also trained nine surgeons for Ghana and 15 for Nigeria. “Additionally, four Ghanaians, two Nigerians and one Gambian are currently being trained.”  

“We aim for perfection, which means performing our duties and tasks so well, better than it will be done anywhere in the world. It means training, rehearsing simulation, evaluation and reevaluating our performance until we reach a status of completeness, flawlessness, supreme excellence, setting high standards for our vision and mission statements and encouraging ourselves.”  

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the vision for the establishment of the Centre was to be a world class one and first choice destination for management of cardiothoracic and vascular diseases in the West African Region.  

It was also to be a referral centre equipped with personnel with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to undertake quality care, teaching and research at international standards to the ultimate satisfaction of clients.  

He said, “the journey to establish the Centre began in 1981 after a national campaign to save a hole-in-heart patient was launched, a friend lost his leg in 1967, a personal family tragedy as well as encouragement from Germany.  

He said before the establishment of the centre there were lots of opposition from Ghanaians, both within and outside the medical fraternity, but with the strong support from the then People’s National Defence Council government, the Centre gained its roots.  

It became the first Centre of excellence established in the KBTH that was somewhat semi-autonomous in its operations, and this was the key factor that enhanced the success and efficiency of the Centre, for which it is known now.  

Pro Frimpong Boateng said the future of the NCTC would be sustained by the attitude, competence and integrity of members of staff and the presence of training programmes for surgeons, cardiologists and other grades of professional.  

“Great institutions are difficult to build, easy to destroy, and impossible to restore, and the most important determinant of future success is how we manage our human capital.”  

Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, Minister of Health, acknowledged the immense contribution of the Centre to healthcare delivery in the country, saying the Ministry’s plan was to support the Centre to enhance its work through the provision of equipment and other resources.  

“The work of the Centre also aligned with the plans of the Ministry to promote health tourism in the country. Already we are aware of quite a sizable number of foreigners who seek treatment at the centre. This is a laudable initiative that has the support of government and in the coming days the Ministry will engage the Centre on how to move it forward.”  

Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah, Chief Executive Officer, KBTH said management of the hospital acknowledged the role played by the Centre and they were ready to support to expand, urging members of staff to “use the celebration to reflect on what to also do, so that tomorrow would be better the next generation.” 

Dr David Nkansa-Dwamena, Board Chairman KBTH, urged leadership of the Centre to embody the same spirit of boldness and innovation that had brought the Centre this far and rolled out ambitious programmes to ensure the Centre maintained its leadership in Cardiothoracic services.