Just a few paces away from the main Outpatient Department (OPD) at the Tafo Government Hospital, one could hear the cry of little Ummu Aiman.
The 2-year old is reluctant to undergo her regular physiotherapy treatment – not even the mother could infer why her daughter is avoiding today’s treatment.
Ummu cries incessantly and stretches her body horizontally towards the health worker at one end and the mother at the other side of the unit.
Physiotherapist in-Charge, Adu Solomon Nogatey, says, “It is a pain she is going through and we don’t also have the right equipment. And that also makes it very difficult for the patient to comply.”
But both adults are handling Ummu with care to ensure she doesn’t worsen her health condition.
She has been suffering from Erb’s palsy disease – a paralysis of the arm, caused by an injury to the upper group of the arm’s main nerves.
The condition turns muscles inward towards the body of Ummu, disrupting nobility.
Health experts say the condition might have occurred during delivery when her neck was overstretched.
Ummu and her mother, Fati Kasim, have been trekking to the physiotherapy unit of the hospital for the past two (2) months.
Specialists attend to them twice (2) a week with high optimism little Ummu would overcome her condition and get better soon.
But lack of special equipment is impeding the best of care at the facility.
“I spend a lot of time here anytime I come and we don’t get the needed attention due the challenges they go through,” Fati said.
She always spends hours of the day at the hospital due to workers inability to attend to them quickly.
Physiotherapists, among other health workers, at the municipal health facility have to improvise to provide equitable cure for the growing number of muscular and bone diseases.
The hospital says it is being compelled to treat patients under a very difficult condition due to its inability to provide other options.
The unit space is a small corridor, under a size of a standard single bedroom,with a few equipment while the rest of the space accommodates patients.
Stroke patient, Thomas Afranie Nyamekye, laments over the long hours of waiting for treatment.
He agrees the physiotherapists are not the cause of his long wait but the general under-capacity of the country’s health facilities.
Specialists have to always manoeuvre their way through to attend to patients.
Since its establishment in 2015, Mr. Nogatey and his colleagues who started the unit have made little headway in strengthening their resolve to attend to more patients a day.
For now, the unit attends to at least 18 cases daily and several others are advised to go and seek care elsewhere, a situation that worsens the condition of helpless patients.
Mr. Nogatey says the staff could do above 35 cases daily if the facility is better equipped.
Quadriceps bench, infrared radiation machine, lumber and cervical traction machine, short wave diathermy microwave, diathermy ultrasound machine, therapeutic balls, vibrators and others are unavailable.
Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Kwame Agyemang, says, “it is unacceptable to treat patient in such a small corridor but they have no choice.”
He suggests the construction of physiotherapy block to provide space for gadgets, machines to be able to attend to patients well.
“Even if we get all the gadgets today, we won’t have space to keep them,” Dr. Agyemang lamented.
The general ward of the hospital has only three rooms; one each for male female and children.
Dr. Agyemang points out it is becoming problematic to execute responsibilities.
“The maximum bed capacity is about 25,” he stated.
The hospital is compelled under the circumstances to refer patients to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Inadequate spacing cut across all the units at the facility including the Psychiatric Unit.
“There is no confidentiality as regards the history of the patient, diseases and treatment we give them,” Dr. Agyemang added
Unfortunately, a project on building which was supposed to reduce the pressure at the hospital has been abandoned.
Several appeals by hospital authorities to get it completed have yielded no positive results.
“If that building is completed, we can decongest the existing structure,” he concluded