NEDCo restores power to St Anne’s Hospital after death of two babies

The Northern Electricity Company (NEDCo) has restored power to the St Anne’s Hospital in the Savannah Region after two babies died at the facility following power cut.

The two babies, according to the hospital management, died because of an inability to transfuse blood. The restoration of power to the hospital comes after the intervention of the regional minister Saeed Muhazu Jibril.

NEDCo cut electric power supply to the hospital over a GHC4 million debt. The hospital has subsequently paid part of the debt.

Appearing on the Asaase Breakfast Show on Tuesday (23 May), Jibril said he will meet the aggrieving parties later today to address the problem to avoid subsequent disconnection.

“We all agree that there are certain buildings that cannot be disconnected, so it was just some few places like the OPD, that was where most of the disconnection took place.

“We agreed that we will make some payments. So, I contacted the MP for Damongo, Samuel Abu Jinapor, who gave some amount for us to pay on behalf of the hospital.

“So, as we speak, we have called for a meeting between the regional health directorate, the hospital management and NEDCo in my office this afternoon, so that we can see the way forward, because NEDCo says the amount that has been paid is woefully inadequate,” the minister said.

Bear the blame
Meanwhile, Maxwell Kotoka, the corporate affairs manager of NEDCo, said that the hospital’s management should bear the blame for the disconnection.

He said St Anne’s Hospital was given notice ahead of the NEDCo team’s visit and should have proactively engaged with the power distributor to establish a payment plan.

According to him, other hospitals had successfully engaged with NEDCo to agree on terms that prevented power disconnections. However, he said St Anne’s Hospital chose to adopt an entrenched position, asserting that the responsibility for payment lies with the government.

“If the hospital had reviewed its accounts to stay updated on its debt to NEDCo, they would have realised that payments have been outstanding since 2013,” Kotoka said.

St Anne’s Hospital currently owes NEDCo a total of GHC4.8 million , with an average monthly payment of approximately GHC200,000.

Financial constraints
For his part, Andrew Rashid Damba, the head of finance at St Anne’s Hospital, expressed the financial constraints faced by the hospital on the show.

“St Anne’s Hospital is a district hospital, and its electricity bills are covered by the government. However, we are not privy to the details of how the government makes payments to NEDCo,” Damba said.

According to Damba, several letters have been sent to NEDCo from the Ghana Health Service and the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) secretariat, including a recent letter dated 27 April 2023, urging NEDCo not to disconnect power to the hospital. However, despite their advice, NEDCo proceeded with the power disconnection.

Damba said he pleaded with NEDCo to restore power to the hospital’s blood bank, emphasising the urgency of attending to emergency cases. Unfortunately, his appeal was not accepted. He described NEDCo’s actions as “seriously criminal,” highlighting their decision to shut down the hospital’s power generator.

He criticised NEDCo for prioritising revenue mobilisation over the preservation of human life


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