Ghana Month: How Korle Bu, 37 and other big hospitals earned their names

Ghana Month: How Korle Bu, 37 and other big hospitals earned their names. From Teaching Hospitals to regional hospitals, clinics and community hospitals, every facility has a history behind its naming. While some date as far back as the 1920’s others are quite recent and some others ongoing.

There are, however, some of these hospitals that have gained popularity in the country, arguably some of the biggest hospitals in the country.

How did they get their names? That’s what we look at, in this edition of GhanaWeb’s GhanaMonth series:

Korle Bu Teaching Hospital:

The Korle Bu Teaching hospital, the premier tertiary healthcare facility in Ghana was established on October 9, 1923, under the then governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg.

It was first built as a General Hospital, to take care of the health needs of the indigenous people. Its name, Korle Bu, which literally means, ‘the valley of the Korle Lagoon’ in Ga was given as a result of the location of the hospital which is close to the Korle Lagoon.

It gained the Teaching Hospital status years later, in 1962, after the establishment of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, formerly the University of Ghana Medical School, to train doctors.

Today, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, which is the third biggest referral centre in Africa, has about 2,000 beds, clinical and diagnostic departments and 3 Centers of Excellence.

37 Military Hospital:

This is arguably the 2nd largest hospital in Greater Accra after the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. British military officer, General George Giffard originally established the facility in 1941, to provide treatment for troops who got injured during the Second World War.

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The hospital’s name, which at the time was No. 37 General Hospital was later changed to become the 37 Military Hospital of the Gold Coast in 1956. The name was given because it was the 37th military hospital to be built in the then British Colony of West Africa.

Today, the 400-bed hospital serves as a health care center, though primarily for military personnel and their families, civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence and their families, and ex-service personnel, all of whom are grouped as Entitled Personnel, but also for the general public who are classified as Non-Entitled personnel for a fee.

The 37 Military Hospital also serves as the Government’s Emergency and Disaster Hospital and the United Nations Level IV Hospital in the West African sub-Region. It is also accredited for post-graduate medical teaching in Ghana.

Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH)

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital which is located in Kumasi, the Regional Capital of the Ashanti Region is a 1200-bed hospital, the second-largest Teaching Hospital in the country. It was originally part of a double hospital in the 1940s; the African and European Hospitals.

The African hospital at the time was for treating Africans while the European side was for treating Europeans like the name suggested. In some cases though, some high-ranking African government officials were given treatment in the European Hospitals.

In the 1950s, owing to the rising numbers of the populace in the region, the European hospital had to be relocated, to give way for the expansion of the African hospital complex which was renamed the Kumasi Central Hospital after its completion.

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That hospital then began operation in 1955. The name was later changed to become the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, in honour and memory of the powerful legendary fetish priest, Komfo Anokye.

The hospital became a Teaching Hospital in the training of Medical Students following the establishment of the School of Medical Sciences (SMS) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in 1975.

It takes referrals from 12 out of the 16 administrative regions in Ghana.

Tamale Teaching Hospital:

Like its name suggests, it is located in the Northern part of Ghana, specifically in Tamale. The hospital is named after the capital of the Northern Region.

It cooperates with the University for Development Studies in Northern Ghana to offer undergraduate and graduate programs in medicine, nursing and nutrition. It is the third teaching hospital in Ghana after the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

The hospital was established in 1974 and was formerly known as the Tamale Regional Hospital. It was to provide various health care services to the people of the three Northern regions of Ghana namely, the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

In 2005 the Northern Regional Coordinating Council decided to partner with the Ghana Health Service to upgrade the hospital to the status of a Teaching Hospital.

The upgrade made the hospital the third teaching hospital in the country. The upgrade was to help with the training of health professionals from the University of Development Studies.
Ghana Month: How Korle Bu, 37 and other big hospitals earned their names.

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