The majority shareholder of the now-defunct Heritage Bank, Alhaji Seidu Agongo, has gifted the Child Emergency Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, a brand new 30-bed block, which he built at a cost of GHS857,000.
The philanthropist started putting up the unit in 2017 and completed it in December 2018.
Dr Addison also announced on 4 January 2019 at a press conference that the central bank had decided to revoke the licence of Heritage Bank, founded by Mr Agongo, on the grounds of alleged criminality in the COCOBOD case, even though the matter was pending before the High Court.
He added that: “As somebody who came from a very poor family and tasted poverty and hardship at a very young age, I know how it feels for helpless children and babies to go through suffering and so much pain just because there aren’t enough facilities and space to cater for their health needs and well-being, thus, my decision to step in and help in the little way I could”.
In his view, not much attention is paid to child healthcare in the country. He lamented that the Out-Patients Department (OPD) of the Child Emergency Unit operates within a 22-bed capacity space, in spite of the average 30 to 50 cases it handles daily.
“Maybe because you have not brought a child here, but if you have brought a child here, that is when you come face-to-face with reality,” he said to journalists during a tour of the block.
“When you think about it that we are now getting space for an emergency unit after all these years of Korle-Bu, are you not worried?” he quizzed.
Per his estimation, Ghana loses a large number of newborn babies to “diseases of antiquity” as a result of the country’s failure to invest in their health and education.
According to him, apart from the lack of facilities and trained health staff, the problem is compounded by the lack of education on how to improve child healthcare as well as a general disinterest in the health of the Ghanaian child.
Prof Badoe said although Ghana’s infant mortality rate had declined to 25 deaths in every 1,000 births, the figure was still a blot on the country’s health sector.
“Take, for example, maternity. There was a month that 17 people died, but if you are in England, you may get only one or two deaths in a year.
“So, when you compare, then you realise that there is something wrong with your system,” he lamented.
Prof. Badoe said although he has been confronted with all manner of diseases in children, “seeing things like rabies hurts me.”
“Rabies is like a disease of antiquity. In the western world, the whole of Europe, not a single case of rabies is recorded, but here, occasionally, a child will come and die of rabies.
“That one, when I see it, it hurts me because it is preventable,” he said.
This, he said was a factor of lack of education and thus called on parents to vaccinate their dogs and children appropriately to avoid needless deaths.