Accra, Ghana - A week-long strike by the doctors and nurses at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana’s second biggest public hospital in Kumasi, challenges in the provision of electricity and water, and the beginning of funeral rites for Ghanaian broadcaster Komla Afeke Dumor were some of the stories highlighted in the media this week.
Doctors and nurses at the hospital last week embarked on an indefinite strike after a mob molested some of them following the disappearance of the body of a baby boy who was said to have been delivered stillborn on 5 February.
The mob stormed the hospital on 14 February when the hospital authorities could not produce the body of the child when the family demanded it to be buried according to Muslim rites.
The mob assaulted the medical staff on duty, damaged tables and chairs, and scattered files of patients at the maternity ward.
The police have arrested a cleaner who said he collected a box containing some dead babies from a room he was asked to clean and burnt the box but investigations showed that nothing like that happened.
“KATH turns away women in labour,” was the headline in the state-owned Graphic.
It said the labour ward of the Hospital was closed down to new admissions because staff failed to report for duty following the mob attack.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times, in a story under the headline “REGSEC orders probe into disappearance of stillborn baby,” said the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) had called on the security forces to unravel the mystery behind the missing baby.
It said the Ashanti Regional Minister, Eric Opoku, who made the call condemned the attack on the staff of the hospital. He urged the baby's family to exercise restraint while he appealed to doctors and nurses to rescind their decision and report for work.
The newspaper quoted the chief executive of the hospital, Professor Ohene Adjei, as saying there was no theft of babies at the hospital as was being speculated but admitted that this baby could not be located.
He said usually the labour ward registered a stillborn baby and recorded details of the mother, sex and other information of the baby. Professor Adjei said after the mother attested to these details, the baby was wrapped in a polythene material and placed in a small box at a specific location where it was picked up by the mortuary attendants who would countersign in the stillbirth record book before it was taken away to the mortuary.
'The responsibility of carting away dead bodies is a special task assigned to mortuary attendants and so it was wrong for the orderly concerned to have taken any corpse away.'
In another story under the headline “Security agencies launch investigations into KATH missing dead baby,” the Ghanaian Times said the security agencies in the Ashanti Region had begun working to unravel the mystery surrounding the missing dead baby at the hospital.
It said some nurses and other paramedical staff had been invited for questioning in connection with the incident.
The Graphic reported on Friday in a story with the headline “KATH doctors, nurses call off strike” that doctors and nurses at the KATH had called off the strike they embarked on in solidarity with their colleagues who were beaten up by a mob.
This followed an apology from the family of the mother of the baby to the staff of the Maternity Ward over the action of the youth and a pledge not to attack the staff and the hospital again.
They said they were also satisfied with security arrangements put in place by the management and the REGSEC.
“Taps run dry in Accra following burst pipeline,” was the headline of a story in the Graphic on Thursday on the acute shortage of water in the west of Accra, which had compelled residents to walk long distances and join long queues at various places for water.
The shortage, caused by a cracked major pipeline, had caused considerable inconvenience to people, particularly schoolchildren, who spent many hours searching for water at the expense of their study period, the Graphic said.
The story said the situation was expected to improve from Friday, as officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) were seen feverishly replacing a pipe along the transmission line.
Following the water shortage in western Accra, the Graphic reported that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) had stopped a planned shutdown of the water treatment plant that served eastern Accra to carry out an interconnection to boost supplies.
In a story under the headline “PURC stops Kpong water works shutdown,” the newspaper reported that the PURC had ordered GWCL to immediately suspend its intended shutdown of the water works that serves eastern Accra until further notice.
The Commission further ordered the GWCL to provide it with the schedule of works and planned completion date for the repair to the transmission pipelines supplying water from the Weija Plant in western Accra and expansion of interconnection works at the Kpong Water Plant that serves eastern Accra.
The Ghanaian Times reported on Saturday in a story under the headline 'Accra water crisis deepens as major pipeline cracks again' that the leaking transmission pipeline on which a major repair work was completed on Thursday had developed another fault.
It said with the shutdown of the water treatment plant, consumers were likely to experience more acute shortage.
“Aboadze plant shut down,” was the headline of the Graphic on the shutdown of an electricity generating plant that would cause load shedding.
It quoted the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) as saying the shutdown of the plant, which occurred on 15 February for repair works, had further reduced the electrical power available to serve consumers.
GRIDCO said repair works on the generator at Aboadze were originally expected to be completed on 16 February but due to some complications, the exercise would now be completed by 23 February.
'Komla Dumor begins journey 'home' today,' 'Parliament eulogises Dumor,' and 'Komla goes home,' were headlines in the Graphic on Friday as a requiem mass was said at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra to begin three days of funeral activities. Komla, who worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London, will be given a private burial in Accra on Saturday.
The Ghanaian Times reported on Saturday under the headline 'Komla Dumor goes home!' that a solemn requiem mass was held on Friday for Komla attended by former President Jerry Rawlings, the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, government ministers, journalists, traditional leaders and people from all walks of life.
The Graphic in its story on Saturday under the headline 'Komla Dumor goes home today' said hundreds of people thronged the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra to pay their last respects to the broadcaster who died in his home in London on 18 January from a heart attack.