The Ghana Medical Association [GMA], has called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to bring to an end to what it describes as the “unhealthy tussle” over the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre.
In a statement issued after a meeting of the National Executive Council of the GMA, the Association stressed that “there should be a speedy and amicable solution to this impasse,” in the interest of the nation.
The facility has been idle since the commissioning of its first phase in January 2017, because authorities of the University are at odds with the Health Ministry on who should manage the facility.
Cabinet is believed to have met over the operationalization of the facility, and other abandoned health facilities across the country this past Thursday.
“The GMA, therefore, calls on His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana to speedily intervene to bring an immediate resolution to this matter. This would ensure that the facility is as quickly as possible started to offer the much-needed health services and research it was designed to offer, and also generate the necessary income,” the Association’s statement said.
The statement expressed its dissatisfaction with the delays associated with the granting of financial clearance for medical officers.
It also called on the government to “rectify this administrative bottlenecks immediately to enable these medical officers to begin work, and also take all necessary steps to prevent future occurrences.”
The UG Medical Centre, which has its first phase completed and ready to commence operations, was inaugurated by former President John Mahama in 2016.
Whereas the University believes processes leading to the construction of the facility gives it a direct oversight role of the Medical Centre, the current Ministry of Health under the Akufo-Addo government thinks otherwise.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, had earlier said government currently needs about $6 million to make the facility operational, and an additional $50 million to complete the phase two of the project.
Fight for UG Medical centre
The immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has also charged the current university administration to fight to ensure that they have overall control of the Medical Centre.
“The University needs to stand up and fight for what is rightfully its property,” he noted in a Citi News interview.
1,400 staff were shortlisted
A former Deputy Health Minister, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, has said about 1,400 personnel had already been shortlisted and ready to be recruited as staff of the Medical Centre before the John Mahama administration was kicked out of office.
According to him, a total of 28,000 applied to work for the Centre, out of which 1,400 were selected.
Mr. Nunoo said the previous government had an adequate plan in place on the way forward for the Centre, adding that all was set for the facility to be operational before the NDC left office.
“Government will pay salaries so we got the Public Service Commission to agree to the establishment of the hospital and 28,000 people applied to be staff of the hospital. We did interviews and the first round of over 1,400 or so people were identified and appointment letters were going to be given. The Fair Wages Commission had also agreed with the salary structure of the hospital and given approval,” he said in a Citi News interview last week.
Citi News has in the last few days exposed a number of health projects undertaken by successive governments which cost the taxpayer several millions of dollars but have been abandoned.