Assessment of capacity for surgery, obstetrics and anaesthesia in 17 Ghanaian hospitals using a WHO assessment tool

Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Sep;15(9):1109-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02589.x. Epub 2010 Jul 14.


Objectives: To survey infrastructure characteristics, personnel, equipment and procedures of surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care in 17 hospitals in Ghana.

Methods: The assessment was completed by WHO country offices using the World Health Organization Tool for Situational Analysis to Assess Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, which surveyed infrastructure, human resources, types of surgical interventions and equipment in each facility.

Results: Overall, hospitals were well equipped with general patient care and surgical supplies. The majority of hospitals had a basic laboratory (100%), running water (94%) and electricity (82%). More than 75% had the basic supplies needed for general patient care and basic intra-operative care, including sterilization. Almost all hospitals were able to perform major surgical procedures such as caesarean sections (88%), herniorrhaphy (100%) and appendectomy (94%), but formal training of providers was limited: a few hospitals had a fully qualified surgeon (29%) or obstetrician (36%) available.

Conclusions: The greatest barrier to improving surgical care at district hospitals in Ghana is the shortage of adequately trained medical personnel for emergency and essential surgical procedures. Important future steps include strengthening their number and qualifications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / standards*
  • Developing Countries
  • Ghana
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Resources / supply & distribution*
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Workforce
  • Hospitals / standards*
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / standards*
  • Operating Rooms / standards
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards*
  • World Health Organization