UWR GMA Chairman criticises doctors for using phone torch to perform surgeries


The Upper West Regional Chairman of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Muslim Ibrahim Donkor has criticised doctors of the Wa West District Hospital for using phone lights to perform surgeries.

According to him, it is the responsibility of the Management of the Hospital to replace broken equipment (lamps) in the theatre.

“My problem comes from the facility level. There is a medical superintendent on the ground who is a spending officer. So I mean within your priorities, if you feel that the theatre is something you have to attend to, it’s my expectation that over this seven months period, you will have been reimbursed by National Health Insurance over a couple of times and you could spend to solve this problem. If it’s a problem that has been standing for seven months.

“Yes, I think it’s really possible to be solved at the facility level. It can, if you look at the theatre lamps, well it’s a bit expensive but I am sure you can get some in the market at the price that facility can afford,” he said on JoyFM’s Newsnight on Wednesday.    

Earlier reports by JoyNews suggest that theatre lamps at the hospital have not been working for almost two years.

Doctors are therefore left with no choice but to use mobile phone torches to help them perform surgeries on patients.

This act, Dr Donkor says is wrong, since medical practitioners could have explored other options rather than conduct surgeries without the needed equipment.

“My surprise will be that if this was a case that happened at the time when the doctors knew the theatre light was not functioning, the National Ambulance Service is there. This case could have been referred to one of the facilities in Wa.

“There is a Wa Municipal Hospital and then there is a Wa Regional Hospital and a referral to any of these facilities could have probably saved a life, but I am not sure the circumstances under which they were forced to enter theatre. But if you are aware that your theatre light is not functioning and the only light that is available to you is a torch light or phone light then I think it’s reasonable the case could have been referred to the regional hospital,” he said.

Additionally, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services Dr. Damien Punguyire also criticised the hospital for not reporting the broken down equipment to the directorate.

The Director stressed that his outfit fixed some broken lamps about a year ago and is not aware that it had malfunctioned again.

“It was worked on. As of now, I don’t even know when that theatre equipment broke down again. If it has [broken down], you were supposed to report. But if they did not report it, how would we be able to know that the lamp is malfunctioning, so we don’t have reports from that facility that the theatre lamp is broken,” he said   

Meanwhile, Dr Punguyire has assured that “We will do a follow-up to the hospital to find out what is happening…we will dispatch biomedical engineers to the hospital to assess the situation.”  

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