In parts one and two of this story, we chronicled how The Fourth Estate uncovered an unlicensed midwife whose 30-year history of practice has resulted in the death of at least two babies within a year and the laissez-faire attitude of the owners of the facilities she worked. Today’s story reveals how the New Generation medical centre provided the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate with false statistics about its operations.
In February 2022, The Fourth Estate wrote to the Ablekuma North Municipal Health Directorate requesting data on maternal and infant mortality at the New Generation Medical Centre, Sakaman, from 2019 to 2021.
The Municipal Health Directorate supervises all the health facilities under its jurisdiction.
This was to establish the number of mothers and children who had died at the facility within the period.
The response arrived nine months later— October 2022— although it was dated March 29, 2022.
“Per the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Code of Ethics and per the Standard Operating Procedures of Health Information for GHS external person seeking certain information pertaining to the service, kindly refer your letter to the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate,” the letter signed by Dr. Yaa Dankwa said.
As it so happens, The Fourth Estate had already written to Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate in March 2022, asking for the clinic’s five-year child and maternal mortality statistics.
Their response came on April 11, 2022. Astonishingly, the New Generation Medical Centre says it did not record a single death, be it a child or mother, in the five years under review.
The Fourth Estate, however, established that within a span of 11 months, at least two babies died at the hospital.
A baby born to Kate Tetteh (not her real name) died on June 25, 2020. Another infant, Selasie’s baby, died on May 21, 2021.
Ideally, the New Generation Medical Centre is expected to submit monthly reports to its supervisory facility, the Ablekuma North Municipal Health Directorate.
Maternal and Infant Mortality Rate at the New Generation Medical Centre between 2016-2021.
Although the reports were submitted to the regional health directorate for the past five years, it appears the figures were ‘cooked up’ and did not capture the death of at least two babies in 2020 and 2021 as The Fourth Estate established.
The quack-midwife-turned-matron, Francisca Quaye, confessed that she sometimes delegated the writing and submission of these reports to her subordinates.
Her boss, Dr. Ralph Obeng Owusu Snr, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Generation Medical Centre, told The Fourth Estate that he did not pay attention to such records.
When Kate Tetteh’s (not her real name) baby died at the New Generation Medical Hospital in June 2020, the midwife in charge, Francisca Quaye, and the facility did not communicate the whereabouts of the baby to her until three days later.
Francisca convinced her that the baby was sent to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital because she wasn’t breathing well.
The story changed from the baby’s breathing difficulties to a brain tumour.
It took Kate’s mother to break the news to her. Kate said she was broken and vowed never to give childbirth another attempt.
Francisca corroborated Kate’s account, insisting that it was an attempt to help the first-time mother who had lost the child under her supervision.
The baby died a stillbirth, the clinic’s records show. This was not captured in the Ablekuma North Municipal Health Directorate’s records.
That was not the only death recorded in the New Generation Medical Center.
Selasie Awaworyie’s baby weighing 4 kg died on May 21, 2021, at 7.45 pm.
The baby got stuck in the birth canal for about 20-30 minutes.
The weight of the baby should have alarmed the clinic to refer her, Dr. Owusu would later admit to The Fourth Estate.
The facility’s failure to provide accurate data to the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate undermines Ghana’s drive to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3. This goal places priority on high-quality, evidence-based obstetric and neonatal care as a way to reduce maternal and infant mortalities.
This failure, according to the Health Institutions and Facilities Act,2011 (Act 829) is an offence punishable by law.
Section 23 of the Health Institutions and Facilities Act, 2011 says anyone who commits an offence by providing unauthorised services in a licensed facility and provides the Board with false information concerning the premises or practice “is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or to not more than ten years term of imprisonment or both and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine of ten penalty units for each day.”
Part four of this story will be published on Friday, May 26, 2023.
In all these, what roles could regulatory bodies, including the Nurses and Midwifery Council (N&MC) and the Health Facilities Regulatory Authority (HeFRA) have played in keeping the likes of Francisca Quaye out of health facilities? How they respond to The Fourth Estate’s enquiries will be detailed in our report.
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