The Laundry Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is on the verge of collapse. This is because almost all the equipment at the laundry have broken down with the exception of one washing machine.
Also broken-down are drying, and ironing machines. The situation has compelled the laundry staff to adopt unorthodox means of operation outside the traditional practices in major hospitals. For instance, the laundry is rinsed by hands and hung on drying lines because the custom made dryer is not functioning.
The ironing boards which operate the same way are also out of service, thus, additional hands have been employed to do the ironing, manually. Disclosing this to the 'Times', a source at the hospital said a few weeks ago, two of the washing machines were functioning, while the staff were doing the greater washing by hand, despite the huge loads from all the departments.
However, at the time of filing this story, the Ghanaian times learnt that the washing by hand – had been temporarily suspended.
An expert told the Times that studies conducted in medical communities in other jurisdictions pointed to the fact that much of the bacteria found in hospital infections known as Hospital Acquired Infections (HAP) were the same found in bed sheets.
He advised that since there is a lot of risk associated with hospital laundering, the laundry staff must either be provided with adequate working tools or protected through wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles and masks to prevent getting infected by contaminated laundries.
The source said “as the situation stands now, if management cannot handle the laundry department well, that function should be contracted to a private laundry service, specialized in handling hospital laundries.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a laundry staff said they have complained about the situation to the authorities, but nothing has been done about it”.
He said “the volume of work from the various departments is so huge that, the 36 workers at the laundry are most often tasked beyond our physical endurance.”
He said with the availability of the machines, volume of work at the laundry was greatly addressed with minimum risks.
Asked whether any of them had been affected by any disease directly related with the laundry, he said no such incident had occurred among them.
Mr. Mustapha Muhammed, the Public Relation Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, when contacted, said the situation was being addressed under the National Equipment Replacement Programme, being undertaken by the government.
Under the government, the government has arranged for $250 million to replace obsolete equipment in all the teaching hospitals in the country.
Mr. Muhammed said the programme would also entail the refurbishment of the key facilities in all the teaching hospitals.
Under the package, the laundry, catering and radiology departments would be provided with modern equipment to ensure efficiency in the departments.
Mr. Muhammed said 13 out of the 33 theatres at the hospital would also be refurbished under the package.
However, he assured “there is no cause for alarm, since the hospital ensures that laundry is clean and free from contaminants and micro-organisms.”
Source: The Ghanaian Times
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