an effort to help prevent neonatal deaths and keeping pre-term babies alive, Mr Kwami Sefa Kayi, an Accra radio presenter has installed a fifth incubator at the Tamale Government hospital in the Northern Region.
The installation also served as the 47th birthday gift of Mr Sefa Kayi, founder of the Kokrokoo Charities Foundation, who hosts the Kokrokoo Morning Show on Peace FM.
Kwami’s birthday was marked on June 20.
In all, the Foundation had installed five incubators worth GHC210,000 at various Neonatal Intensive Care Units of health facilities in Accra, Prestea, Nsawam and Tamale.
The five benefitting hospitals are: the Prestea Government Hospital in the Western Region, La General Hospital, Nsawam Government Hospital, and the Police Hospital, all in the Greater Accra Region and the Tamale Teaching Hospital in the Northern Region.
Under the ‘Giving hope to mothers, Keeping Children Alive’ slogan, the Foundation installed the incubators as part of an on-going fund-raising campaign for the purchase of 100 incubators desperately needed in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) of health facilities nationwide.
The incubators are to help cater for babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, known in medical terms as pre-term deliveries.
Dubbed the ‘Project 100 Incubators’, Mr Sefa Kayi, initiated the fund-raising programme in June 2014 aimed at raising funds to purchase 100 incubators to be distributed to various government hospitals across the country.
Mr Dennis Adutwum, Director of Programmes for Kokrokoo Charities Foundation, explained that the initial hospitals were selected based on health issues that emerged in the discussions on the Kokrokoo morning programmes on Peace FM.
He said a rapid assessment was subsequently conducted which showed that the beneficiary hospitals did not have incubators to support neonatal intensive care for pre-term babies.
The assessment also showed that the facilities were overwhelmed with pre-term cases not only from their registered expectant mothers, but from outside referrals far beyond their catchment areas.
Each facility was reputed to be catering for populations of close to 200,000 or more.
Mr Adutwum said based on the need assessment, the decision was taken to target the five hospitals as the first batch for the incubator distributions and installations.
It was gathered that in the case of the Prestea Hospital that, the nearest referral for Neonatal care was Takoradi which was 145 kilometres away while at the Nsawam Government Hospital that had a population of 120,000 with a large catchment including Akuapem South, East Akim, and Suhum, the nearest referral centre was Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
The La General and Police Hospitals, however, have heavy patronage besides serving as referrals for almost all the polyclinics and private medical facilities in Accra with a high level of out-patient pressure.
“The case of Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) was, however, troubling as it happens to be the referral facility for all three regions of the North and, despite its tertiary status, had only two partially-functional incubators”.
During the installation of the incubator at the Tamale Hospital, Dr Mumuni Alhassan, Head of Paediatrics at the hospital, who received the team from the Foundation, said: “It’s a wonderful gift from the Kokrokoo Charities Foundation which, I think, will contribute positively to our on-going effort to reduce congestion in the unit.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure that every small and pre-term baby that requires thermal control in an incubator has access to one on its own and without having to share,” he stressed.
According to Dr Alhassan, the 2016 institutional new-born mortality in the Hospital was 11.9 per cent, saying although the figure was still high, it represented a significant decrease from as high of 21 per cent four years ago.
He explained that “The increasing number of small and pre-term admissions generally means that up to five babies share one radiant warmer or infant incubator,” a situation he said was an “unhealthy practice which increased the risk of the babies getting infections from other babies”.
On his part, Mr Sefa Kayi explained that such urgent situations required immediate attention, which pushed him to initiate Project 100 to help save such situations.
He said the prohibitive cost of one incubator made it a challenge for government alone, to face the task of equipping major facilities with the optimum number of incubators and so it, therefore, required the collaboration of individuals, civil society organisations and corporate institutions to purchase such capital intensive equipment.
“It is for this reason that Kokrokoo Charities Foundation launched ‘Raffle for a Cause’, a fund-raising campaign to purchase 100 incubators for hospitals across the country”.
Mr Sefa Kayi is, therefore, calling on all Ghanaians leaving abroad to contribute to this cause.
Meanwhile, local benefactors supporting the delivery of the project 100 incubators include Tropical Cable, Stanbic Bank, Unilever Ghana, Japan Motors, 2nd Image Academy, Goil Ghana Limited, and Excel Oil.
Others include; Capital Bank, Beige Foundation, Subscribers Depot, Skynet Express Delivery, as well as churches, Mosques and some individuals.