By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
A four hundred and eighty thousand Euros (€480,000) worth 50 Newton Meter Cube modern oxygen production plant has been installed at the 37 Military Hospital, to replace the old plant in order to help achieve quality and efficient health care delivery at the hospice.
The health equipment which was commissioned on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019, by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Jubilee House – Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, possesses the ability to dock or fill 10 cylinders at a time, compared to the former plant which docked only one cylinder, and in addition, the new production unit meets the highest standards of safety, reliability and efficiency.
The 37 military hospital previously operated a 20 Normal Meter Cube Linde Oxygen production plant, which was installed in 2009, during the phase two of the hospital’s expansion.
However, since 2014 the equipment was bedeviled with frequent breakdowns, with an average downtime of two days per month, resulting in a high maintenance cost, a situation which worsened by early 2018, causing the average downtime to deteriorate to a terrifying three days per week.
This bad state of the equipment did not only affect the operations of the military health institution, but also that of the National Ambulance Service and majority of healthcare centers in the vicinity of the hospital, who relied on its oxygen production plant and waited long hours and sometimes, days for refills.
A few months ago, the old and obsolete plant, having served its purpose, could no longer sustain the increase in demand and hence suffered frequent breakdowns, causing nerve-racking moments for staff and patients alike, for oxygen, without being overemphasized, is perhaps the most critical consumable in the healthcare delivery chain, the world over.
An interim backup plan, put into action to supplement the oxygen supply, came at a rather heavy cost of eighty thousand, six hundred and forty Cedis (GHC 80,640) per week, rendering the situation a near national emergency.
In the 3rd Quarter of 2018, the administration of the institution, having lost all hope in sustaining the hospital’s demand for oxygen on the old plant, requested help from the military High Command, who in turn liaised with the Presidency to take pragmatic steps to produce the new 50 Newton Meter Cube modern oxygen production plant.
Mrs Osei-Opare also announced in her speech, as guest of honour of the function that, as a sequel to the equipment’s acquisition, a new multipurpose X-Ray machine has been procured, installed and currently in use, while a new Computed Tomography (CT) Scan and a Fluoroscopy Machine, are expected to be installed soon.
The Government’s Chief of Staff assured the institution of the state’s support to deal with the myriad of problems and challenges that are militating against the full implementation and delivery of universal health care at the hospital.
“Let me seize the opportunity to encourage Corporate Ghana and benevolent individuals who have over the years supported our institutions in diverse ways, to compliment government’s effort in improving the lives of our people”, she concluded.
The Commander of the 37 Military Hospital – Brigadier General (Brig Gen) MA Yeboah Agyapong, in a welcome address, stated that for the hospital “to be able to continue to deliver on its mandate, the time has come for all stakeholders to come on board to raise the facility to the desired standard.”
He concluded, “Although we are getting inputs for the commencement of the Phase 3 of the expansion project, let me seize the opportunity to appeal to Government to add the Magnetic Resonance Image machine, which has been down for several years now, to the fast track list”.
Dignitaries included the Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla – Dominic Nitiwul, The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Obed Akwa, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) – Major General (Maj Gen) William Azure Ayamdo, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Rear Admiral (R/Adm) Seth Amoama, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) – Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Frank Hanson and the Chief of Staff (COS), General Headquarters (GHQ) Maj Gen Thomas Oppong-Peprah.