The attention of the Management of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has been drawn to two publications on your online platform which sought to impugn the integrity of the Chief Executive. The Hospital Management wishes to place on record that the allegations raised in your stories are false and without any basis. Management therefore, demands that they are retracted without delay.
Management is particularly surprised and extremely disappointed that in spite of your claimed visit to the Hospital, you never made any attempt to seek its opinion on the said allegations as required by the time-tested Journalism principles of fairness and balance.
Management wants to put on record that the Hospital is neither grinding to a halt nor the Chief Executive milking it dry. He is not and has never been involved in any procurement malpractices as alleged. Indeed, for the records, this Hospital is the only public health institution with the enviable recognition of being consistently adjudged as one of the most outstanding institutions with best procurement practices in the country.
It would interest you to know that at the 2018 Ghana Procurement and Supply Awards held in Accra recently, the Hospital was adjudged the Best Institution in the Health/Pharmaceutical sector in terms of procurement practices, the Best Institution in Procurement Compliance in the Public sector and the organization with the Best Procurement Team in the country. Management therefore, finds it regrettable that in spite of these peer-reviewed record of the Hospital in procurement best practices, you went ahead, without any shred of evidence, to accuse the Chief Executive of procurement malpractices.
Again, Management wants it to be driven home that the Hospital is not grinding to a halt. Upon the assumption of office of the current Management and the Board, it was realized that the Hospital had enormous operational challenges arising from years of massive under investment in its equipment and infrastructure base.
A special exercise was therefore, conducted to list all the equipment and facilities that needed to be replaced, re-tooled or repaired at the Hospital. The end result of that exercise was that the Hospital would need at least One Hundred Million Ghana Cedis (Ghc100, 000,000.00) to fix its equipment challenges. This is indicative of the depth to which the Hospital had sunk with regard to its infrastructure deficit when the Chief Executive and the new Board assumed office.
Undaunted by the enormity of the situation, the Management and the Board, through the prudent use of the Internally Generated Funds of the Hospital, have begun investing millions of Ghana Cedis in the procurement of critically needed equipment to improve clinical care. Key among these is the procurement of two Oxygen Plants at the cost of Five Million, Four Hundred Ghana Cedis (Ghc5.4m) to replace the current obsolete plant which is over 20 years and should have been decommissioned about 10 years ago.
This investment alone will save the Hospital the Ghc12, 000.00 cost it incurs daily on sourcing for the product from private sources. The question is, how can a Hospital that is said to be collapsing have the financial muscle to fund, on its own, such a procurement which happens to be the first investment of its magnitude by any public hospital in the country?
In addition to the above, other significant investments made in beefing up the equipment base of the Hospital include, but not limited, to the procurement of a high end Haematology Analyser at the cost of Ghc505,000.00, Electric Dryer for the Laundry Unit at the cost of Ghc 135,500.00, two Ultrasound machines at the cost of Ghc193,200.00 and five Orthopaedic Power Drills valued at Ghc166,152.00. Others are the acquisition of 12 Patient Monitors at the cost of Ghc300,000.00, assorted equipment for the Physiotherapy Unit worth Ghc300,000.00, surgical instruments for the E.N.T. Unit at the cost of 114,307.00 Euros and Endoscopes for the Medicine Unit valued at 201,061.20 Euros.
It should also be pointed out that your claim that the Hospital has no functional C.T. Scan is false. If you had taken your time to cross-check, you would have known that the Siemens C.T. scan at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Centre, which is one of the two C.T. scans at the Hospital, is working. The other C.T. scan at the M.R.I. Centre, which is currently down has been technically assessed by the country agent of the manufacturers and a report is being awaited to enable Management take a decision on its repair after the relevant procurement processes have been complied with.
In terms of actual performance outputs, the Hospital has generally witnessed increases in the provision of clinical care services to the public since the current Chief Executive assumed office in July 2017, thus negating your claim of an institution in retrogression. This is proven by the following verifiable statistics;
Deliveries increased from 4, 263 in the first half of 2017 to 4,411 by the same period in 2018. Physiotherapy services also went up from 9,564 to 10,334. Over the same period, Diagnostics services went up from 156, 104 to 165,178. Specialist OPD cases rose from 137,208 to 142,118 whilst Surgical Operations hit 9,312 from 8,892 in 2017. From the above, it is mystifying for one to claim that the Hospital is grinding to a halt.
On the availability of medicines at the Hospital, it is worthy to note that when the current Chief Executive assumed office in mid 2017 the drug availability was 41 percent largely due to delayed reimbursements for medicines dispensed to patients on National Health Insurance. By mid-2018, the drug availability had increased to 56 per cent and still rising whilst that of emergency drugs is about 90 per cent.
To further improve the drug availability situation at the Hospital, the Chief Executive effectively led the establishment of a 24-Hour Cash Pharmacy at a small space at the A&E Centre in November 2017 to stock and sell non-insured medicines and other emergency drugs. From virtually level zero, the above Pharmacy is now generating, on average, a whopping Two Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc200, 000.00) in sales per month from the over 400 different items in its stock.
It is in the light of the above development that Management deemed it prudent to construct a special facility to accommodate the ever increasing patronage of the Pharmacy so that it can better serve as a one stop shop for high quality but affordable medicine and non-medicine consumables as part of a strategy to make the Hospital more patient-friendly. How on earth can expanding the operational base of a business that is generating Ghc200,000.00 a month and rising be deemed to be regressive?
As indicated above, the deterioration of the equipment and to a large extent, the infrastructure base of the Hospital did not start today. Equipment and facilities that should have been re-tooled or replaced about five to 10 years ago have remained in place. Replacing these equipment would require enormous investments. This explains the decision by the Board to set up a special Endowment Fund to mobilize resources to address the equipment challenges at the Hospital. What should have taken 10 years to fix cannot be done in a year or two but Management and the Board are determined to find creative ways to address the above challenges in order to further improve the quality of care to the public.
The Chief Executives trips to Accra are not pleasure trips. As the head of one of the key Agencies of the Ministry of Health and a member of some of its most important committees, he is obliged to attend key official meetings. He also takes advantage of his presence in the nation’s capital to follow up on the Hospital’s businesses with other Ministries, Agencies and Development Partners. The current transportation arrangement for his trips is the most cost effective as compared to renting a car for him as you suggested in your story. This is because renting a moderately decent car in Accra as you proposed will cost not less than Ghc 800.00 per day in addition to having to pay for its fuel as per the conditions for renting such vehicles. It is also important to state that air travels by the Chief Executive is occasionally needed and prudent to ensure that he is able to save precious time required to discharge his numerous official obligations in and out of the office.
In conclusion, Management wishes to reiterate that your publications about the Chief Executive was simply scurrilous. There is no adverse audit report against his administration and he has not arrogated to himself entitlements not spelt out in his conditions of service. Management is aware that his reformation agenda for the Hospital is dislodging the established interests of some individuals and interest groups. It must however, be pointed out that he will never be distracted or cowered by such contrived attempts to dent his hard won image.
Much as Management welcomes constructive criticisms, it wants to caution that it would not countenance any unjustified attacks on its officials. Consequently, the Hospital’s lawyers have been given a standing instruction to take the necessary legal steps against any medium or person who publishes and or amplify in any form such unfounded allegations against its officials. It is therefore, expected that you will take the necessary steps to give this response the needed attention and prominence.
HEAD OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS