By Christabel Addo, GNA
Accra , Aug 4, GNA - The 75th Anniversary celebrations of the 37 Military Hospital was on Thursday launched in Accra, with a year-long planned activities which includes radio and television talk shows, health screening, blood donation, a float, an Open Day and fun games.
The occasion was also used to launch the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Hepatitis Programme known as the Forces Liver Health Protection Project (FLiHP), to screen all uniformed personnel, their families as well as civilians in the catchment area, whiles the Anniversary Logo, cloth, Polo shirt, baseball cap, mug and key holders were also outdoored.
Brigadier General Ernest Crosby Saka, the Commander of the 37 Military Hospital, said the project has become necessary due to the high morbidity and mortality of hepatitis B and C among serving personnel and their dependents which, marks an important landmark for Preventive Health in the GAF.
He said the Hospital was established on July 4, 1941 as the 37th facility by the allied forces in the then Gold Coast to cater for casualties from the Second World War, and later expanded from taking health care needs of military personnel, their families and other supporting staff, to civilians.
Brigadier General Saka said from a modest number of 29 wards, the facility could now boasts 400 beds with many specialised units and has the ability to stretch to 600 beds in emergency situations.
He said it was currently the second largest medical facility in Accra and the third largest in the country, and also serves as the government’s emergency response health facility and the centre of action in the event of major disasters, such as May 9, 2001 stadium disaster which killed more than 120 soccer fans and the June 3, 2015 fire and flood disaster which ended the lives of more than 150 people.
The Commander said the Hospital has been designated as a United Nations’ (UN) Level IV Military Medical facility within the West African sub-region in addition to providing Levels I and II support at various peacekeeping missions.
Brig. Gen. Saka said the 37 Military Hospital has also become an important training facility as it is renowned for providing post graduate training for doctors for the major universities, House Officers, medical students, nurses, midwives, physician assistants (anaesthesia), emergency medical technicians and other para medical professionals.
He enumerated some challenges facing the Hospital as the irregular supply of hospital consumables to meet the health needs of the growing number of patients, while a lot of the medical equipment have out-lived their lifespan and broke down very often.
He appealed to the Ministry of Defence to take a critical look at the Maintenance Agreement with the Hospital Engineering Limited to help address the situation.
Brig. Gen. Saka said the Hospital also has a serious need for an expanded modern car park complex for its growing clientele, as well as accommodation facility for its staff, which the High Command has given approval for a Private Public Partnership on a Build Operate and Transfer basis with any interested investor.
He said the Anniversary Planning Committee as one of its targets, has also decided to put up a modern hostel facility for accompanying relatives of patients to spend the night, and appealed to businesses and the public to support the hospital to provide more quality and affordable services for the people.
Mr Kenneth Gilbert Adjei, the Deputy Minister for Defence, congratulated the Hospital for the numerous achievements attained over the years and for fostering a strong civil-military relationship by extending its services to the civilian populace, as well as its sharp responses to the health care needs of the country during emergency situations.
He said the Ministry is very much aware of the numerous challenges of the Hospital and was committed to crown its unflinching determination to service by continuously providing the requisite support for national development.
He urged all stakeholders to join in the year-long activities lined up for the celebrations.
He also called on the management of the Hospital to reflect on the past and reaffirm its desire and determination to ensure an enhanced and effective healthcare delivery in the society.