WELCOME SPEECH DELIVERED BY:
OHENEBA OWUSU-DANSO, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE KOMFO ANOKYE TEACHING HOSPITAL (KATH) ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL INAUGURATION OF TWO ULTRA-MODERN OXYGEN PLANTS HELD AT THE HOSPITAL IN KUMASI ON TUESDAY, 25TH JUNE, 2019
CHAIRMAN AND ACTNG BOARD CHAIRMAN
HONOURABLE AKOSUA FREMA OSEI-OPARE, CHIEF OF STAFF
HON. MINISTER FOR HEALTH
HON. ASHANTI REGIONAL MINISTER
MEMBERS OF THE KATH BOARD
REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF HEALTH SERVICES
HEADS OF DIRECTORATES AND UNITS AT KATH
SPECAIL INVITED GUESTS
MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I am pleased to extend to you all a very good morning and my special appreciation for making time to be with us on this very, very, happy occasion. It has been 10 years since the Hospital launched its quest for the purpose for which we have gathered here today. The process has been very long and winding but I am delighted that the Good Lord in his infinite mercies and blessings has finally made it possible for us to meet here today to witness the inauguration of two ultra-modern oxygen Plants at the Hospital. Especially to the Chief of Staff who despite her very busy schedules has made time to be with us today to share in our boundless joy and uncommon achievement, I say a big welcome as I welcome also alt distinguished invited guests.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Ladies and Gentlemen, to affirm the significance of today’s ceremony, permit me to quote from the good old book, specifically Genesis Chapter two (2), verse seven (7), which reads “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”, end of quote. This quotation goes a long way to confirm that since the dawn of creation, man has always needed and depended on breathe or air to survive as a living being and for a Hospital like KATH the availability and impact of a reliable high quality air like oxygen on the outcomes of patient care cannot be over emphasized. It is for this reason that successive administrations of this Hospital and the Ministry of Health over the years attempted to address this dire need when it was realized that the Hospitals old
Oxygen Plants, which were over 22-years, were no longer capable of meeting patients’ requirements for medical gases both in terms of quantity and quality due to the aged and obsolete state of the Hospital’s plants.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, regrettably, despite the best of efforts, the quest for new and bigger plants did not materialize. This compelled the Management of the Hospital to increasingly resort to external suppliers to a point where about 95 per cent of its oxygen needs were provided by a private supplier. This development resulted in a huge burden on the finances of the Hospital to the tune of an average of Twelve Thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh¢12,000.00) daily for the minimum of 200 bottled oxygen supplied every 24 hours. Besides the crippling cost, the logistical management involved in procuring the oxygen in cylinders from a private company came with its attendant challenges regarding the timeliness of delivery, discharging filled cylinders and loading empty cylinders, prompt replacements and connecting through the
oxygen distribution lines for adequate delivery to needy patients especial[y those under Intensive and emergency care. Ideally, for a Hospital of the size of KAM with several scores of critically ill patients on admission on daily basis, oxygen supplies should be piped to all critical or high dependency areas like Theatres and Intensive Care Units through central lines direct from a production plant. That could however, not be the case and this definitely affected the quality of emergency care services at the Hospital much to the frustration of the emergency care staff and Management.
Therefore, on the assumption of office the current Board in the later part of 2017, the Board reviewed all the previous efforts that had been made to get a new oxygen plant for the Hospital and realized that the key bottleneck had been lack of funding. The Ministry of Health which had the traditional duty to supply the plant was said to have done so earlier but the one it imported for the Hospital got burnt in the fire incident that destroyed completely the Central Medical Stores a couple of years ago. The plant was reportedly temporary being kept at the stores for its onward conveyance to Kumasi for installation when the fire incident occurred. Since then, budgetary constraints had not made it possible for the Ministry to procure a new plant for the Hospital as it has done for other sister institutions. The huge cost involved in procuring such an asset had also prevented the Hospital from doing so.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, upon a thorough analysis of the cost and adverse impact of the oxygen supply difficulties facing the Hospital, the Board, under the able chairmanship of Ambassador Nana Effah- Apenteng, Omanhene of Bompata Traditional Area, took a bold decision to seek the necessary approval for the use of a pre-financing module to purchase new plants. This decision was the outcome of the Board’s analysis that the hospital monthly repayment schedule for the period would be far cheaper than the monthly expenditure on commercial purchases. The repayment is to be funded from the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Hospital. In October 2017, the government through the office of the Chief of Staff gave permission to the Hospital’s Board to acquire the oxygen plants. With the approval from the government, the Hospital launched the tender process for the
Procurement of the plants in December 2017 in line with the Public Procurement Act resulting in seven companies submitting their bids for the project.
After going through stringent financial and technical evaluation processes, the Central Tender Review Board approved the recommendation of the Entity Tender Committee for the award of the contract to Rikair Company limited at the cost of Five Million, Four
Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢5,454,000.00). The Hospital consequently went ahead to award the contract to Rlkair Company on 291h June 2018. The cost of the plants would be repaid in equal monthly Instalments over a period of three years.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the first batch of the plants component which included the oxygen generators, Air tanks, oxygen tanks, filling racks and pumps were delivered to site on the 19th of January 2019. The second batch of the plant components which included four air compressors, four air dryers, spare parts and hoses followed on the 31st of January 2019. These paved the way for installation works to begin on 1st February 2019. Since the existing power for the old plant was inadequate for the new set of high capacity compressors and oxygen generators of the new plants, the Power Distribution Company (PDS) Limited was officially contracted to assist in the provision of upgraded power supply sources for the plants on 26th February 2019. This cost the Hospital an amount of Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢367, 000.00) to execute. PDS Limited completed the project on the upgraded power sources on 19 of May 2019 paving the way for a team from KAESER, the U.S. Company that manufactured the air compressors and air dryers for RIKAIR Company Limited to come down to the country to test the new power supply to the compressors and also test run the plants. The team completed the test-runs on 23rd of May 2019 and gave the go ahead for RIKAIR to start operating the plants. In addition to these works, Management through approval by the PPA also contracted Rikair Company Limited to lay a bigger piping system of 35mm diameter from the new oxygen Plants to”D”block of the Hospital to increase the volume of oxygen supplied through the main line which was previously 22mm.
The installation of the new pipes was completed on the 15 of May 2019 and tested for leakages. This cost the Hospital additional one-Hundred and Thirty-Two Thousand (GH¢132,000.00). The comprehensive project being commissioned today therefore comes to a total cost of Five-Million, Nine- Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand Cedis (Gh¢ 5,953,000.00).
The two oxygen Plants have consequently been running in perfect condition since 27 May 2019 and are supplying all the oxygen consumption needs of critically ill patients at the Hospital at an impressive pressure range of 4.5bar to 5bar which is the pressure level required for optimum patient care. It is important to indicate that the contract involve a planned preventive maintenance by the Rikair Company for the warranty period. Further and as part of the contract, two engineers from the Hospital have also received adequate training on the plants at the manufacturing company in the USA when the assembling of the plants were completed prior to their shipment to Ghana. All these measures were taken by Management to ensure that the plants are diligently maintained without hitches during its expected years of operation.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is instructive to note that the impressive growth and expansion that the Hospital has undergone over the past few years were factored in the decision on the nature of the oxygen plants to procure. With the construction of additional facilities like the Accident and Emergency Centre and the new Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II (NAKSA) Centre which was put up through the coordination of the Rebecca Foundation of the First Lady of Ghana, the metres a day in 2001 when the old Plans were installed to around 1,875 cubic metres now. In acknowledgement of this exponential growth in the consumption of oxygen, a conscious decision was taken to procure plants that had the capacity to meet both the current and immediate future needs of the Hospital. The two plants that we have gathered here to Inaugurate have a combined production capacity of 2,496 cubic metres of oxygen a day as against the Hospital’s current total oxygen consumption of 1,875 cubic metre per day. The production capacity of the new plants is, therefore, about six (6) times that of the old ones which have been decommissioned and also over 600 cubic metres in excess daily of the requirement of the Hospital. Thankfully, the excess capacity would not go to waste as the new plants have bottling capabilities which means that other hospitals in this part of the country in need of oxygen can bring their cylinders here to fill at affordable fees.
Chairman, Honourable Chief of Staff, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is obvious that the journey to this occasion had not been smooth. We are foremost very grateful to the Almighty Lord for seeing us through all the difficulties that the Hospital was subjected to in the years that we did not have a reliable plant to meet our needs. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to the Chief of Staff for facilitating the process of acquiring the plants and also for her graciousness to preside over the inaugural ceremony today, her tight schedules notwithstanding. The Hon. Ministers of Health and the Ashanti Region also deserve tons of commendation for their continuous support for the Hospital and we hope that we can continue to count on your support in our drive to reposition the Hospital as a true centre of excellence in specialist medical care in West Africa and truly play a major role in the Government’s agenda of setting Ghana as a Health Tourism hub for the sub- region.
It is in this light that l wish to further express the appreciation of the Board and Management to the Government of His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for ensuring the approval by Parliament of 155 Million Euros for the completion OF the 44- year old Children and Maternity project. I attended a meeting last week Wednesday in connection with the Value for Money (VFM) audit for the loan and completion of the project and I hope that the Ministry of Finance will work assiduously to meet the necessary timelines to pave way for the resumption of work at the site.
On behalf of Management I wish to indicate that currently the Hospital faces some serious challenges with critical diagnostic equipment, especially CT Scan and MRI Scan machines. I wish to appeal to the Ministry of Health to assist us in these areas, if even it means exploring similar opportunities for a pre-financing module or placement contracts.
To the Chairman and Members of the Board, I can only say that this Hospital would be eternally grateful to you for the transformational agenda you have set Mr yourself since your assumption of office In September 2017. You have demonstrated beyond doubt that you want to make a difference and leave a legacy that generations would be proud of.
By virtue of your bold and visionary initiatives, KATH has not only become the first public health institution to buy its own oxygen Plants but also on the strength of its own balance sheet is successfully financing arguably the biggest IGF-funded investment by any public hospital in the country. There is no doubt that with your continuous support and direction, this Hospital would continue to be best among its peers in the areas of specialist medical care, training and research as per our mandate. Of course, I also wish to thank Rikair Company Limited for a good job done. Once again, I wish to welcome you all for your Presence at this historic occasion and hope that we all enjoy a memorable event.
I thank you for your attention. May the blessings of the Most-High God be upon us all for mother Ghana.