Rich History of St. Dominic Hospital, Akwatia

“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give”. Matt. 10:7, 8.

In 1960, The Local Authorities from Akwatia approached the Bishop of Accra with request that the Catholic Mission should take over the newly built Clinic in Akwatia. The Chief of Akwatia then was Barima Kofi Bempong II.
Bishop Bowers, the then Bishop of the Accra Diocese, in turn asked the Superior General of the Dominican Sisters, Rev. Sr. Fabiola Quack for help which was generously granted.
The four Dominican Sisters who made the initial trip to Akwatia were Sr. Victricia Koch, Sr. Theresita Ohmer, Sr. Irmina Radke and Sr. Fatima Schmitt. They were all qualified nurses. The pioneering Sisters were joined by Dr. Karl Hoheneck, an experienced Surgeon from the St. Mirren Hospital in Germany in June, 1960.

The work started in the Clinic under quite primitive circumstances. The main building consisted of four rooms, two large ones with a bed capacity of eight each and two small ones with two beds each. The clinic thus started with 20 beds in 1960. There were no trained nurses to help apart from the Dominican Sisters. The Clinic lacked basic amenities like fresh water supply and electricity as well as accommodation for the Doctor and other staff.

A small house, a few yards away was used for the Outpatients, X-ray and Laboratory tests. The theatre was started in 1960 with the support of the Chief of Akwatia. As the number of patients steadily increased, the working situation became quite heavy. The Sisters with sheer determination and commitment to duty began to address the teething problems of the clinic. The Honorable Chief of Akwatia, Barima Kofi Bempong II heartily welcomed the contribution of the first Sisters and generously contributed 5000.00 pounds sterling for a Doctor’s bungalow and the construction and furnishing of the Operation rooms. Surgeries at the clinic were referred to the theatre of the Cast Hospital (GCD Hospital). The first surgery in the hospital was an ectopic emergency that would not have survived the referral to the Cast Hospital. The surgery was eventually done on a stretcher in the uncompleted theatre. Subsequent operations were all done in the St. Dominic theatre after the first successful operation. All emergency surgeries resulted in the closure of the OPD because Dr. Hoheneck and the Sisters had to go to the theatre and there were no other staff to assist. Sr. Theresita gave anaesthesia, Sr. Fatima was the runner and Sr. Irmina, the scrub nurse. The theatre was completed in 1962. The Sisters will normally resume OPD duties after the emergency surgeries. Sr. Irmina handled minor operations like suturing and curettage. Many a time, you could see her running from the OPD (now John Addae’s Bungalow) to theatre, whenever necessary. The pioneering Sisters at the start of their Missionary work lived in a convent which was a local council school block at the St. Roses Senior High School. The block is currently a Dormitory for the St. Roses School. In 1961, great help came with the introduction of two new Sisters to the ministry, Sr. Scholastica Riesbeck and Sr. Jubilata Muller. Sr. Jubilata later replaced Sr. Victricia who was on a six month leave in Germany. Sr. Scholastica, a Midwife took care of delivering babies and helped where needed. As at this period there was no Doctor at Battor, so Sr. Scholastica had to go to Battor to assist in deliveries especially the complicated cases.

At St. Dominic, the number of patients grew rapidly. The Superior General heard the cry of the Sisters and sent another sister to help. It was Sr. Lucaris, who joined in 1962. The work and organization was such that the sisters worked in every field as a team. By this time every Sister had to be able to stand in for the other if the need arose. Meanwhile in 1962, the sisters moved to the newly built convent in the Hospital. Sr. Fidelia Niessner and Sr. Miguela Keller arrived in 1963 and started work as Nurse-Midwives. The organization improved after the arrival of these two Sisters. Sr. Theresita Ohmer took charge of OPD finances and business, Sr. Fatima was in charge of Children’s ward, while Sr. Lucaris took care of Male ward. Sr, Irmina worked at OPD and at the Operating Theatre. Sr. Fidelia and Sr. Miguela took charge of both the Maternity and Female wards and took turns in night duties. More hands were needed and Ghanaian Nurses and Midwives had to be employed. The best solution was to set up a Nurses’ Training School. In 1964, a classroom and a Nurses’ Hostel were built. Sr. Theresita took charge of the N.T.S until a Ghanaian Tutor could be employed. In 1970, Sr. Margit Ohmacht came to head the Enrolled Nurses’ Training School. However, after the termination of the Enrolled Nurses’ Training course in Ghana, she joined the Battor Community. Mrs. Sarah Nyampong took over as the first Ghanaian Tutor in 1977 until the termination of the program in 1984.


 1962- with the death of the Chief, Nana Kofi Bempong II no further local funds were available and the Sisters had to take their own initiatives. With the help of the German Agency, the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters in Germany and their local Bishop and many other benefactors, the Female Ward with Maternity was built. This followed by the construction of the Male Ward in late 1962.
1963- Three private rooms were added to the Male Ward. With the funds of MISEREOR, the hospital was extended by a Children and Isolation wards. A hostel for the planned QRN Training School was started and completed by November, 1964 for the first intake of student Nurses. The Hospital received pipe-borne water from the water plants in G.C.D. the Nursing training was necessary because there was the need to develop local capacity to help in the rapidly expanding Mission field.
1964- Three generators were installed for the operation of the necessary electrical equipments. In the meantime four more Dominican Sisters, a second Doctor and four lay Missionaries had arrived to ease the mounting work. This made the building of the second Doctor’s bungalow and Nurses’ bungalow necessary which were constructed with the funds of various benefactors in Germany. Also the X-ray unit and a classroom were built.
1973- By the year 1973, the St. Dominic Children Hospital was dedicated. The ward has a capacity for 120 beds. This building was constructed under the supervision of Mr. John Norvor, the first works Superintendent of the hospital.
1977- Under fives Clinic was built which was run by personnel from the Ministry of Health. By the end of 1977 there were four twin-bungalows for Nurses.

The hospital dived deep into Public Health activities spearheaded by Sr. Miguela Keller O.P. Activities under the department included the following:

  •  Maternal and Child Health Care, Immunization, Health Education and Minimal curative care.
  • Training of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Village Health Workers (VHWs),
  • Provision of portable water through the digging of wells (hand-dug wells).
  • Provisions of toilet facilities (KVIP and Septic tank latrines).
  • Brick and tile manufacturing.
  • Housing units for staff, poor and deprived in the community.
  • Waste Management Project at Akwatia.
  • Programme for people living with HIV and AIDS.
  • HIV and AIDS Educational programme with mobile cinema van.
  • Prison Ministry
  • Gari Processing Plant.
  • Oil Palm Extraction Factory for Christian Mothers Association.

Sr. Miguela and her team endured very trying moments going as far as the Afram Plains with canoes to immunize children. The activities of the department have contributed significantly to the improvement of the health of the Ghanaian populace.

Sr. Wiltrude Vogel arrived in 1985 and became the Financial Controller when Sr. Theresita left Ghana because of ill health. Sr. Wiltrud who holds a BSc. Degree in Accounting was a necessary addition to the purely technical staff mix of the Sisters.
In December, 1988, an ultra-modern Out-Patient Department was commissioned. This building was supervised by Mr. Adu Mpiani, an Accra based Architect and contractor. The building houses, the OPD and Medical Records Department, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Casualty as well as Consulting rooms and Offices.
Between 1990 and 1992 the hospital constructed a Bio-gas Anlage-Plant with a grant from MISEREOR. The project director was Mr. Commazzi, an Italian Architect. The construction of the plant was to help manage the waste disposal system of the hospital, provide natural gas for the hospital laundry and bio-fertilizer for farming.
On 17th March, 1993, a Day Care Center for the Children of the Staff of St. Dominic Hospital was commissioned. This was co-financed with a grant from the European Economic Community (EEC). The staff provided labor for the project.
With the passage of time there was the need to renovate the existing buildings with which the St. Dominic Hospital was started. In this respect, the Maternity Ward, the Theatre as well as the Surgical Ward underwent massive renovations in December 1994, giving the hospital a completely new outlook. The renovations were undertaken by K&H Construction Ltd. They also constructed 10 flats for Doctors and another 8 flats for nurses between the year 1994 and 2000. The 3.7 kilometer wall around the hospital was started in 1999 by the Community Development unit of the hospital. Just before the 40th anniversary celebrations, 1.5 km of the hospital roads were tarred.
The 40th anniversary was marked with a colorful ceremony on 5th May, 2000. The hospital focused its development on the staff after the anniversary by constructing a Library and School block which was partly financed by the staff. The library and school projects were finished in 2002. Between the year 2000 and 2010 the hospital embarked on an ambitious project by sponsoring close to 100 people to undertake various health disciplines.
The next major project was the Eye Clinic. The project promoters were Thomas Reineke, Prof. Sprandel, Prof. Shuette, Mr. Christel, Col. Rtd Bahr, Mr. Hasselmann and Mr. Alex Shlief etc. The financing for the building was provided by the Ruebsam family of Germany. The Ruebsam family provided 104,000 euros for the project. Nina Holzhauer and Mr. Charles Dawson were the project architects. Mr. Owusu-Diko supervised the construction of the Eye Clinic In the year 2002, a 12 body capacity Mortuary was built by the community development unit of the hospital with supervision from Mr. Charles Dawson.
Discussions on the construction of the Eye Clinic started in 2002. The Architectural drawings were developed by Ms. Nina Hotzhaur and Mr. Charles Dawson. The funding for the building was provided by the Ruebsam family and equipment was provided by Rotary International. The building was supervised by Mr. Owusu-Diko and the foundation excavation was done single-handedly by Mr. Kwasi Okanta. The building was finished in 2003 and commissioned by the Catholic Bishop of Koforidua – Most Rev. Charles Palmer Buckle with the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Ruebsam.
In 2003, the building of the Ruebsam St. Dominic Staff Village started. The Hospital was looking more like a residential estate rather than a hospital. Management therefore took the decision to send the staff accommodation out to the Ruebsam St. Dominic staff village. The land for the project was donated by the Akwatiahene Osabraima Kofi Boateng III.
The project was financed from the following sources; St. Dominic Hospital, Ruebsam foundation, Kwaebibirem District Assembly, Akwatiahene, Prof. Shuette and Fusse. The initial designs were done by Sr. Wiltrud and Mr. Patrick Owusu-Bonsu with assistance from Mr. Owusu-Diko and Mr. Charles Dawson. The project has been a source of livelihood for many young people who work there. At present there are sixty two families living in the Estates.
The year 2004 saw the building of a new ward. The 60 bed capacity fever unit was financed by the Diocese of Speyer. The main promoter of this project was Msgr. Fischer. The Diocese of Speyer also supported the construction of 2 flats for the hospital. Another 1.5 km of road network was built in 2004.
In 2008, the Sr. Irmina Transit quarters consisting of 14 accommodation units was completed.
The small clinic began in 1960 by the Dominican Sisters is the largest Mission facility in the country. It is a secondary facility accredited for the training of Medical house officers and Residents in Family medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology as well as Surgery. The Staff strength of the hospital is an excess of 600 and a bed capacity of 356. The OPD attendance per annum is in excess of 120,000.
The year 2009 saw the completion of 24 flats at the Ruebsam St. Dominic Staff Village. The hospital also constructed a 150 capacity morgue.
St. Dominic Hospital is a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE where thousands of people have found life and health. Many people found education, occupation and hope in hopeless situations. Many people have experienced here that, there is a loving and merciful God who continues to reveal Himself to us through the grace of healing and care.
We are most grateful to God for his guidance, protection and his uncountable blessings. What St. Dominic Hospital is today was achieved through the selfless teamwork of the Dominican Sisters, our dedicated Ghanaian Administrators, Accountants, Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Paramedical and other staff, the German Volunteer Doctors, the technicians and engineers sent periodically by GRVD (German Rotary Volunteer Doctors) and “Doctors for Africa”. Good governance and selfless devotion to the service of humanity have been the trump cards.
May St. Dominic Hospital remain a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE and grow from strength to strength. May St. Dominic Hospital remain a CENTRE OF HOPE for the sick and the poor. And may the Christian spirit of love, care and respect for the dignity of man always prevail in St. Dominic Hospital. Long live St. Dominic Hospital Governance

St. Dominic hospital is part of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). It is under the National Catholic Health Service (NCHS). A collaborative relationship also exists between the Hospital, District and Regional Health Administrations.
The Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Catholic Church is the head of the facility and he carries out this responsibility through the Diocesan Health Board. The daily administration of the Hospital is carried out by the Management Team which comprises the Medical Director, the Hospital Administrator, who also serves as the liaison officer between Management and all other agencies, the Matron, the Clinical Coordinator, the Financial Controller (Bishop’s representative), the Head of Pharmacy and the Head of Finance. Decisions of the Hospital Management Team are taken by consensus building and no member of the team has a veto power.
The various departments and units have their respective heads who administer the day-to-day activities. There are various standing committees which carry out their mandates based on the terms of reference given to them. They include the Housing, Motivation Implementation and Occupational Health and Safety Committees. Adhoc committees are formed to perform various functions when required.
Professional associations available in the hospital include the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association and the Health Services Workers Union. Among their various activities, they also assist in the explanation of policies and guidelines to their members.Core Foundation and Principles

St. Dominic Hospital has been serving the Denkyembuor District and its environs with care and compassion since 1960. Our core foundation and principles as well as the implementation of this Strategic Plan are guided by our Mission, Vision and Values.

Our Vision is to be “a health service that is best in meeting patients’ needs and expectations”.
Our vision defines what we hope to achieve Mission

Our Mission is “to provide high quality healthcare in the most effective, efficient and innovative manner, specific to the communities we serve and at all times acknowledging the dignity of the patient”.
In pursuing this mission, St. Dominic Hospital embodies the Christian principles of health care in the Catholic tradition.

Core Values

Our core values are the principles which guide St. Dominic in accomplishing its mission and vision. Those values are as follows:

God fearing: We value human life as it is sacred and inviolable in all its phases and in every situation and we have a reverent feeling towards God.
Honesty: We value truthfulness under every circumstance.
Professionalism: We value quality in care, work life, education and research.
Supportive: We value a quality of presence and caring that accepts people as they are and fosters healing and wholeness.
Accountability: We value the promotion of the just use of resources entrusted to us for the enhancement of human life.
Innovative: We value the translation of ideas into services and inventions that benefit humanity.
Integrity: We value the quality of having strong moral principles.
Respectfulness: We value each person as a unique individual with a right to be respected and accepted.

Five (5) Key Strategic Issues

The key issues identified based on the terms of reference and environmental forces are

1. Operations/ Management

  • Systems – Channels of Communication
  • Optimal Operability of Departments/ Units
  • Spaces/ Offices to Operate

2. Clinical Care – Satisfactory Service Delivery

  • Improvement of Care
  • Clinical Outcomes – right diagnoses, right prescription, reduction in maternal mortality, reduction in fresh still birth, reduction in macerated still birth, reduction in patients’ waiting time
  • Prevention of Diseases – Outreach
  • Research

3. Internal Stakeholders – Employee Protection and Development

  • Fair and Sustainable Motivation Package
  • Accommodation – realistic tenancy agreement, maintenance of fixed assets
  • Social Security/ retirement, Protection of life and property
  • Continuous education and retention of good staff

4. External Stakeholders – Customer and Partner Satisfaction

  • Patient care with respect and dignity
  • German friends treated with respect and vice-versa
  • Communities, Media, Chiefs etc

5. Financial Solvency – St. Dominic Hospital Afloat each Financial Year

  • Sound Financial and Accounting Practices
  • Reduction in per capital cost
  • Innovative and Genuine Strategies to raise St. Dominic’s Hospital Internally Generated Funds
  • Single Window System – Inflows and Outflows Executive Summary

The St. Dominic Hospital Strategic Plan (2018-2028) has been developed to provide a roadmap to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the communities within its catchment area. The Hospital has registered a lot of achievements since its establishment, some fifty-seven (57) years ago by the Dominican Sisters of Speyer, Germany, to address the needs of the sick and poor in Akwatia and its environs. St. Dominic Hospital has grown to become a major referral health centre for the Denkyembuor, Kwaebibrem, West-Akim and Birim North Districts as well as the Birim Central Municipality.
In recent years, the Hospital has seen organizational change with its ensuing challenges after the exit of the Dominican Sisters to Speyer in Germany. The current Management Team has embarked on this process to provide a concrete plan that will delineate the Hospital’s commitment to work with stakeholders in providing accessible, affordable and quality patient-centered care. The plan provides the blueprint for service delivery over the next ten (10) years period. Patients’ expectations are growing. In some jurisdictions, these are considered “rights” and healthcare providers are required to transform their services to meet these expectations (rights).

Thankfully, at the core of the St. Dominic Hospital service rendition is nonetheless the commitment to meet these and other challenges by providing the right workforce with adequate resources using the appropriate processes to ensure the provision of affordable yet quality healthcare for patients while offering useful support for their families. These are challenging times given the demands but there are exciting moments ahead!
St. Dominic Hospital, Akwatia, shall focus on the improvement of systems in operations; enhancing the quality and safety of clinical care to ensure good outcomes; sustainable positive relationship with all stakeholders internal and external alike, and ensuring financially self-reliant and solvent healthcare facility in every given financial year throughout the ten (10) years period.

At the moment, the Hospital is considered by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) as a primary facility regardless of its capacity to offer secondary and specialized services; it also offers teaching services to students of almost all clinical spheres. The Management Team strives to achieve in the years ahead, a secondary level status with the NHIA. The platform for change is upon this generation driving the need to think strategically for the future.
The Strategic Plan recognizes the Hospital’s previous shortcomings whiles building on its past achievements. The recognition that the Hospital is part of a broader spectrum of healthcare system deeply enforces the idea of collaboration with essential stakeholders in the provision of expected quality health services. The plan articulates the importance of investment in innovation, education and continued professional development of the workforce.
This roadmap has been carefully developed with inputs from all stakeholders- Owner, Staff, Communities, Clients and Families, as well as External Partners. It is the firm belief of Management that this Strategic Plan will provide the necessary foundation for a more professional, innovative, inclusive and engaging approach towards the delivery of quality healthcare in meeting the expectations (rights) of all stakeholders.
Acknowledgement is duly given to the founders, owner, staff, community, volunteers and all partners for the collective effort so far in building St. Dominic Hospital, Akwatia into a centre of excellence over the years. It is equally acknowledged that a lot more needs to be accomplished to arrive at its final destination – A Centre of Excellence in this 21st Century. This blueprint offers the stage for the Hospital to take bold, focused and deliberate actions to shape healthcare delivery in the future both within the catchment area and the region at large. The Plan is not an end in itself and being an iterative process, it shall be reviewed annually in a Planned Programme of Work (PPOW) for a given year with Action or Execution Plan (AP or EP) to meet emerging trends and ambitions.
This marks the beginning of a new era in the history of St. Dominic Hospital, Akwatia, and may all people of good-will embrace this blueprint to create a highly motivated and glorious working environment for the provision of affordable yet quality healthcare delivery which is essentially patient-centred.