General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018
Government has indicated that it has completed initial work to ensure the smooth running of the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) and operations are set to begin.
This was after a huge public outcry that greeted government’s slow pace in ensuring that the facility begins operations to provide healthcare several months of being idle after construction.
“…the government has set up an Interim Board, chaired by Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah to liaise with the Turnkey Contractor, to test run the equipment and operationalise the facility with immediate effect,” a statement issued on Thursday 31 May 2018 which was signed by Deputy Minister of Information, Curtis Perry Kwabla Okudzeto stated.
The release explained that the first step will involve the Interim Board completing the staffing process and provision of final logistics required for a smooth take-off “between now and July 2018”.
The statement added that government shares in the public sentiment “to operationalise the facility as soon as possible”.
The release further pointed out that government has additionally secured funds to construct the Phase 2 of the project which will enable it function optimally.
Government's response follows protests by a final year pharmacy student at the University of Ghana, Reginald Sekyi-Brown, who displayed a placard with the inscription “Open UGMC Now” when First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo visited the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to cut sod for the construction of a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
He was arrested by police, detained at the Korle Bu police station and released on bail after interrogation.
The 650-bed facility is the first of its kind in West Africa and second to only few hospitals in South Africa.
The ultra-modern hospital was conceptualised and began under the administration of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills. Government secured a loan facility from Harpo Alim Bank of Israel for the project at that time.
Some of the specialised services to be delivered by the hospital are Gastroenterology, Trauma and Orthopedics, Urology, Othumology, Ear-Nose-Throat, Cardiology, Dermatology, Neurology and Radiology and Accident and Emergency services.
The first phase of the project was inaugurated under former President Mahama but a tussle between the authorities of the University of Ghana and the Health Ministry over the management of the facility has stalled operations till date.