Two months after government set a date for the surgery to be performed on the conjoined twins at the Ridge Hospital, the Daily Searchlight has learned that the surgery is due to come off in early November.
On August 8, 2021, Minister of Health Hon. Kweku Agyemang Manu announced that the surgery would come off in September. However, the Daily Searchlight has learned that the surgery has now been fixed for the first week in November.
Even though the reasons for the delay for conducting the surgery are unclear, we have learned that soon after government announced its decision to fund the surgery, disagreement arose between the various agencies as to who was to be the spending agency. At the same time there are reports that there was no money at the Bank of Ghana to meet up the declared expenditure by government.
On 5th July 2021, Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare visited the twins at Ridge Hospital at Osu and announced that the presidency has taken up the full cost of surgery to be performed on the conjoined twins at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge).
Madam Osei Opare said the presidency is allocating an amount of GH¢15million to pay for the entire procedure.
Out of the amount, GH¢12million will be spent on a specialised equipment needed for the surgery. This equipment will become an asset of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) after the surgery.
The amount of GH¢3million will be used to procure consumables, medication, and tests that the family would have had to pay for, during the 12-18-month procedure to separate the Siamese twins.
“The President recognises the fact that this effort that you want to put in, is very much in line with the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. We also noted in a cabinet meeting that this is an opportunity to also equip us to do complicated surgeries and so on,” the Chief of staff told the doctors at the time.
Applauding the team of medical doctors, she said when the Minister of Health informed the cabinet of the, “unique case in Ghana, conjoined twins and that our Ghanaian doctors have taken upon themselves, a responsibility to undertake the separation here in Ghana, it was received with a lot of Joy.”
“Medical Director, team leader, consultant, it is my pleasure to announce that the President takes this as a historic opportunity, one that would save lives, save the family from a problem that they may not be able to deal with in the future but also build capacity for Ghana. This is a historic effort that you want to make. I am glad that you are working as a team,” Mrs Opare said.
The Chief of staff also called on Ghanaians to support the doctors and the twins with prayers for a successful operation.
“We are also going to back you in prayers, I will even call on all Ghanaians to back our daughters with prayers because this is a historic moment and they need not just our money, they need our moral support to know that there is a nation behind them.”
Director of Institutional Care Division at Ghana Health Service, Dr Samuel Kaba Akoriyea expressed appreciation for the gesture saying the support from the Presidency and the people of Ghana will bring smiles to the young twins and the family.
“This shows the great interest in the welfare of the twins, that, in a time of a national call, Ghanaians have responded,” Dr Samuel Kaba Akoriyea said.
Further to the visit by the Chief of Staff, the government of Ghana announced on August 19 that it had paid 3 million Ghana cedis (496,903 U.S. dollars) to help cover the cost of a separation surgery of four-month-old conjoined twins.
According to a statement by the Minister of Health Agyemang Manu, funds have been released and the conjoined twins are set to undergo surgery in September.
“We have also started procuring equipment that would enable the doctors to perform the surgeries,” said Agyemang Manu.
“Some of the equipment has arrived. The doctors are on course and we are getting things actually moving very fast for us to get the thing going,” added Manu.
On July 5, Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo announced to pay for the surgery following massive social media campaigns to solicit funds for the conjoined twins.
About 135 Ghanaian doctors are expected to come together to carry out the historic procedure of separate the two conjoined twins currently at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.
On August 31, 2021, however, it was reported that the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare on behalf of President Akufo-Addo had presented a cheque of over GHS14 million to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital to help procure equipment towards the surgery to separate a set of conjoined twins.
This comes after President Akufo-Addo on July 5, 2021, announced that the government will bear the full cost of the separation surgery at the Ridge Hospital in Accra.
Addressing the media, Madam Frema Opare said, “today [Tuesday], I am here to announce that the money has been fully released. We are doing this, not only to save lives, but also to encourage our experts. We are aiming at turning the scale of health care in Ghana.”
“We want to show that Ghanaians have the capacity and when given the necessary support we can do things on our own.”
The twins were born to Rebecca Bansah, who last month appealed to the public to help raise funds for the procedure.
Doctors say it will cost about GH¢3million to separate the Siamese siblings.
The twins, in their third month, are joined at the head.
Data suggests that only about 5% of conjoined twins survive until surgery.
Doctors at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital are however hopeful that the surgery will be successful.