St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College's maternity and pediatric centre took nine years to complete and two contractors to finalise.

St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College has begun treating patients at its long-awaited maternity and pediatric centre this month. The centre, which will provide care during pregnancy and after childbirth, took nine years to complete and two contractors to finalise.

The centre cost 444 million Br to build, which was covered by the Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC). The facilities include 300 beds in addition to 26 beds for the Neonatal ICU and 12 beds for the Pediatric ICU, ten operating theaters, three operating rooms, 11 delivery wards, and a separate emergency and outpatient unit for both OB-GYN and pediatric services.

Aside from these facilities, the centre is equipped with a central system where oxygen is supplied to wards, outpatient clinic, emergency units and operating rooms through a gas pipeline. This system will replace the conventional cylinders that are used to provide the service.

“The centre will have a huge role in reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and the mortality rate,” Neway Tsegaye, communications director of the Medical College, said.

Constructed by Santa Maria Construction and Magercon Plc, the centre, which lies on 2,000Sqm, is located on the Medical College’s existing compound in Gullele. The latter contractor, which was awarded the project after bidding with seven other companies, did not finish the project.

Expected to be finished within three years, the project was begun in 2010. But due to design revisions and the termination of the contract with Magercon, which led to a two-year long court battle, construction ended this year.

Magercon completed only five percent of the project, according to Moti Assefa, engineering and construction director at the Medical College. But Mulegeta Ayele, general manager of Magercon, says they had actually finalized 25pc.

“When a shortage of foreign currency happened, we asked for a price increase, but they refused and we were unable to proceed with the construction," said Mulugeta.

After termination of the contract with Magercon, Santa Maria Construction, which was also involved in the construction of Amanuel General Mental Hospital and Mental Research Institution & St. Peteros TB Specialized Hospital, took over the project in 2014.

Two consultants participated in the project. The first design was by ETG Designers & Consultants Plc. After a contract termination, At-Con Engineering & Architecture Consultancy Plc took over, executing design revisions on electromechanical, heat, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Apart from the maternity and children's centre, the Medical College, which was established by the Ethiopian government and a German NGO over a century ago, is also constructing oncology, cardiac and gastrointestinal units. These projects currently stand at a 38pc completion rate. Almost all of the structural work is finished, and partitioning and finishing plaster work is underway.

The Medical College, which is governed by a board under the Ministry of Health, is also preparing to construct a trauma centre. Lying on a 9,020Sqm plot of land provided by the Addis Abeba City Administration in Gullele, the trauma centre will be located one kilometre away from the Medical College’s current compound.

Experts admire the expansion by the Medical College, which was reestablished by the Council of Ministers in 2010, including the opening of the maternity and children’s centre.

“Having this maternal and children's centre has a significant role in the delivery, coordination and effective monitoring of maternal and child health services,” said Tadele Bogale (MD), deputy country director of Alive & Thrive-FHI 360, a global nutrition initiative, who has spent a quarter of a century in the sector. “Not only this, but it also improves the standard of premises, products, practice and professionals for appropriate provision of emergency obstetric and newborn care services.”

In Ethiopia, the mortality rate of children under the age of five has steadily been falling from 142.6 deaths per 1,000 live births two decades ago to 58.5 two years ago. The maternal mortality rate has also declined to 412 deaths for every 100,000 live births, according to the World Health Organization. With around 400 hospitals, there are only 9,182 doctors, 16,765 nurses and 1,379 midwives in the country.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 02,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1018]

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