Picture above: KATH
The recent case of missing dead stillborn babies at the once reputable hospital in Ghana, Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), once again brings into focus the obvious decay and inadequacies in our health institutions and how officials portray their ignorance by the way they react and handle such issues.
Suwaiba Abdul Mumim’s baby is one of the two bodies found but how can we be sure that the baby being produced as her dead baby is a true? Did we conduct a DNA test or other means to ascertain that it is dead body her stillborn? I guess we will never know the answer!There should also be a monitoring system in place to make sure health institutions across the country follow approved policies and procedures.
The case of missing dead stillborn babies in a hospital as happened at Okomfo Anokye is no exception. In this case the families of the missing babies are crying and asking for their dead babies, because they strongly believe there was a foul play. Instead of going through the proper channel to resolve the issue, friends and relatives of Suwaiba stormed the KATH a few weeks ago to demand the body of her alleged stillborn dead baby. They assaulted some Doctors and Nurses in the process. They later surfaced to apologize and promised not to continue with the barbaric behavior! They are however free from prosecution by the authorities even as they took the law into their own hands! Are we in a lawless country? Some of the hospital staff assaulted had nothing to do with the missing dead stillborn babies! As expected, the health workers went on strike over the assault but resumed work upon security assurances from the Police and the Regional Coordinating Council.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, under whose watch these incidents happened, gave the hospital authorities a two-week ultimatum to produce the body of one of the missing dead babies to the mother Suwaiba’, as well as bodies of four other babies which got missing under similar mysterious circumstances.
In all the confusion, beatings and what not, one would presume that the Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, would attempt to resolve the issue by assessing the situation better, but she jumps into the fray and appears to have woefully failed to investigate the real issues related dead stillborn babies disposition in hospitals, Policlinics and clinics across the country!
The following questions go to the Minister of Health:
• Are you aware of any protocol or protocols or better Policy and Procedures at the Okomfo Anokye Hospital or other hospitals in Ghana as to how they dispose of dead stillborn bodies?
• Are you aware that it is a common practice in Korle-Bu and other Health Institutions across the country that such dead babies are mostly disposed of by the hospitals since there are no clear cut policies and procedures or protocols directing staff as to how to handle a dead stillborn?
• Are you aware of any protocol or protocols or policy and procedures that the Hospital authorities did not follow?
• Is the Minister aware that even if such policies and procedures exist, there had been in-services to make sure that the hospital staff is adequately equipped with the knowledge to handle the issues?
Situations like this call for “cool and thinking heads” to find out if there are proper procedures available to handle these issues and if such procedures are broken or non-existent so that steps are taken to prevent future occurrence/s. If there are no protocols or policy and procedures, it behooves on management and Government to address this anomaly immediately!Most health institutions in developed and some developing countries accreditation bodies oversee the practice in Health Institutions and make sure that adopted policies and procedures are followed. Why can’t we implement these simple rules to make sure that our hospitals are safe to give safe and proper care let alone dispose of our dead bodies humanely!
We believe that it is past time, our leaders put on their “thinking caps” and ask for help from Ghanaians who have both the knowledge and expertise to assist in restructuring our health institutions with approved policies and procedures. There should also be a monitoring system in place to make sure health institutions across the country follow approved policies and procedures.
Sherry, asking hospital officials to produce the body of a tiny dead still-born who may have been thrown into the hospital dust bin is not the wisest request, at least knowing the inadequacies and what the hospitals have institutionalized as a normal practice due to lack of direction over the years! Suwaiba Abdul Mumim’s baby is one of the two bodies found but how can we be sure that the baby being produced as her dead baby is a true? Did we conduct a DNA test or other means to ascertain that it is dead body her stillborn? I guess we will never know the answer!
We plead with the government of Ghana and the Ministry of Health to use this incidence as a lesson and make sure that immediate steps are taken to put in place the necessary Policies and Procedures so that cases like these and others are prevented or delt with appropriately.