GHANA REPORT 2016
The entrance to Baptist Medical Centre
An example of overcrowding in a pediatric room.
Construction on the new Outpatient Building.
GHAP Consultants made their first trip to the Baptist Medical Centre (BMC) in Nalerigu, Ghana in October 2015. The team consisted of William Casey, an experienced hospital and health system CEO from North Carolina, and Rodney Dockter, a senior bank examiner. As this was GHAP’s first visit, the team concentrated on recommendations to the medical center that will assist BMC to rise to an even higher level of financial, operating, organizational and clinical outcomes performance.
BMC is located in Northern Ghana in the Eastern Mamprusi District whose population is approaching 125,000, but it also draws patients from further north and south, as well as from western Togo and southern Burkina Faso. The population of northern Ghana is mostly agricultural, with high levels of poverty and low levels of education. Since its beginning in 1958 BMC has remained a “beacon of light in its expression of the gospel through caring medical care to Ghana’s poor.” Malaria is a major health issue in the area, as well as yellow fever, snake bites and other tropical maladies. During the malaria season, the 42 bed pediatric unit can be bursting with over 100% occupancy and then be asked to absorb 30 to 40 additional overnight admissions. These waves of patients really take a toll on physicians, nurses and other caregivers.
Additionally, BMC performs small procedures and general surgery. The hospital has dormitory rooms for tuberculosis patients, a wound care unit, communicable disease unit and an overnight stay complex for mothers struggling with small children suffering from severe malnutrition.
BMC has a foundation of Ghanaian doctors, nurses, aides, physician assistants and midwives who are dedicated to helping patients and should be honored for their efforts, but their numbers fall short of meeting the need. However, the NGO created by BMC’s founder, the American medical missionary Dr. George Faile, continues to recruit and bring to campus American and European medical missionaries and volunteer clinicians to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Ghanaian counterparts. Dr. Lynn Coppola, an American OB/GYN, is one such example. After several years of providing women’s care, she was appointed as BMC’s Medical Director until a suitable Ghanaian can be found or trained.
Some of the main challenges at BMC are staff retention due to overwork, a shortage of experienced physicians, patient volume pressures, a need for more physician leadership and power outages.
GHAP’s main consultative goals for this trip were to observe, interview and assess all aspects of the operation, and after considering all of the input, to provide recommendations to drive improvements in financial, operating, organizational and clinical outcomes. Some of the most fervent GHAP recommendations are:
Install & execute accepted financial policies, protocols, & procedures.
Record and track equipment arriving on campus, whether purchased or donated.
Establish useful life ledgers for all major medical & support equipment so long term replacement can be planned in an orderly fashion.
Secure an accomplished senior physician experienced in managing medical staff affairs, and clinical process improvement processes.
Move mountains to bring into full operation a new Outpatient Building, a Training Classroom, Expanded Pediatric Unit, a Critical Care Unit, a Triage and Trauma Service and a Regional Laboratory.
GHAP also suggests a field trip to Cameroon to see another health delivery system that has wrestled with some of the same challenges as BMC.
As evidenced by the abundance of patients from the Mamprusi District that rely upon BMC, and the long distances many others travel to receive care at the hospital, BMC’s future must be assured. The Chief of the Mamprusi said that without the hospital, his people would be confronted with unimaginable hardships, pain, suffering and unnecessary deaths.