The Chief Executive Officer of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong has stated that the International Maritime Hospital, is well-positioned to help solve some of the health concerns of members of the international trade community who find themselves in Ghana to do business.
“When people are doing business in the port space, they are more comfortable when there is a facility that would see to their healthcare needs, especially in times of emergency. And in that respect IMaH is particularly well-placed,” he said.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Role of International Maritime Health Facilities in Fighting Public Health Threats like COVID-19, the Head of IMaH revealed that one of the principal motives for establishing such a world class hospital to complement operations of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority is to strategically position Ghana as the gateway to West Africa.
“When people are entering the country, one of the things that make them very uncomfortable, is the health services available in that country. Some of them when they are coming they are very apprehensive that should I come and get a heart attack, do they have facility to take care of me?” he continued.
Dr. Oppong asserted that currently, many within Ghana’s ports and maritime industry, including foreign nationals seek healthcare from the International Maritime Hospital, with the expectation of increasing the numbers considerably due the variety of specialist healthcare services offered.
“These agencies, even without enrolling all their staff, they make sure that the expatriate staff have access to IMaH, because of the standard of healthcare here. Going forward the development of the Tema Port, and the presence of the International Maritime Hospital, will make foreigners coming in, to feel comfortable and be confident in getting the level of healthcare they are used to.”
Dr. Helen Tettey, the Head of Clinical Services of the International Maritime Hospital also said IMaH has been readily positioned to help keep the gates of the country away from the importation and spread of public health threats, and has since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic collaborated with the GPHA Clinic and the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service in that regard.
“We have several interactions with them. And so, if there is anything of the sort, the first point of call is the Port Health, but if there is any client they need to move for treatment, because of the connection with us, we are available to take care of the patient,” she said.
Dr. Tettey, who is also the Consultant Anaesthesiologist at IMaH, revealed that even though IMaH had to remodel a lot of its healthcare services since the advent of COVID-19, it has been able to effectively collaborate to handle first hand situations associated with the COVID-19 before transfer is made to the designated national treatment centres.
“Once they are doing that, we also test our in-patients, so if somebody comes with any condition and we suspect that it is COVID-19 or associated with it, we have an isolation bay, where we hold the person, take samples, and continue to treat him or her before the results come. We have done several of those since the pandemic,” she disclosed.