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General News of Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Late Prof. Atta Mills believed in UG Medical Center – Prof. Aryeetey

Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey has shared how Late Former President of Ghana, Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills was determined to see the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) project come to fruition saying they were ‘lucky’ the President defied odds to make it happen.

The idea of having an ultra-modern hospital facility for the University according to Prof. Aryeetey had been in the minds of management of the school for over five decades until a decision was made to begin the project.

Being a state-owned institution, it was paramount that government was informed of such decision and the necessary help be given to make the project a success.

Prof. Aryeetey speaking in an interview on GhanaWeb’s ‘21 minutes with KKB’ said the school approached the then President of Ghana, Prof. Mills, and solicited for assistance in executing the project so that, the University could move their College of Health Sciences the from Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital unto the schools’ premise.

“The University of Ghana approached the Late Former President Atta Mills and said to him, for more than 50 years we have always wanted to build a hospital, can you help us? We want to move the college of health sciences, most of what we do from Korle-Bu to this place because we wanted to ensure that the people doing health sciences interact with other parts of the university", he recounted.

Prof. Aryeetey revealed that during the time of deliberations towards the commencement of the project, he noticed how ‘keen’ the then government headed by the Late Prof. Mills was, towards providing new regional hospitals to improve the health sector and added that the President at a point had to challenge resistance from his own camp, all in efforts to make the UGMC project a reality.

“Government agreed that okay, we would use some of the resources to build this new hospital for the University of Ghana In the course of the discussions over several months it came up that government was quite keen on sourcing facilities for building new regional hospitals. We were very lucky the President defied opposition even from some of his own colleagues not to do it because he believed in it,” he said.
The University of Ghana Medical Hospital project commenced on March 12 2011 after a brief sod-cutting ceremony by Late Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

The first phase of the 650-bed facility has since been completed and was inaugurated by Former President John Dramani Mahama last year where he said although the initial plan was to move the UG Medical School from Korle-Bu to the new facility, some constraints did not make it instantaneously achievable.

He mentioned that in the interim, the facility will accommodate among other things, specialized training and part of the University of Ghana Medical School training, while Korle-Bu takes care of the other part explaining that moving all specialists and teachers from Korle-Bu would negatively affect the facility.


In 2012, the government of the day, signed a contract with an Israeli company, Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) to build the phase one of the 217 million-dollar facility.

Meanwhile, issues of ownership of the UGMC made headlines last year making the masses question actors that were involved in the deliberation process of the project.

The UG Medical Centre after commissioning of its first phase in January 2017, according to reports has been dormant for a while because the University’s authorities and the Ministry of Health were at odds who the management of the facility should be.

A Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, in response to the tussle, accused Former Deputy Health Minister, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey and one Prof. Aaron Nii Lante Lawson, of registering the 650-bed UG Health Facility in their names, a claim which sparked a lot of controversies.

“It will shock Ghanaians to hear that a limited liability company such as the facility has been registered in the names of Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Prof. Ernest Ayittey and one Prof. Aaron Nii Lante Lawson in their respective names” he alleged.

The University believed proceedings leading to the construction of the facility permitted it to have full ownership of the facility to gives it a direct oversight role of the Medical Centre, the current Ministry of Health under the Akufo-Addo government thinks otherwise.

“When the hospital project began, we set up several committees to ensure that by the time the project is completed we will be ready to run it. So we set up committees. They were advising on client management research, advices on governance and so on. One of the things that came out of governance discussions where that when the hospital is finished it should not be a part of the system that is managed by the Ministry of Health so that it does not get bogged down by the bureaucracies and everything associated with the public service,” Prof. Aryeetey speaking in an interview on GhanaWeb’s ‘21 minutes with KKB’, said.

He mentioned that “between the University of Ghana and the Government of Ghana there was a steering committee that was appointed to manage the project and the steering committee was chaired by the Minister of Health with the Vice-Chancellor as the co-chair. So two people where chairing it, MoH and the UG.If it was accepted that when the hospital was ready there will be a special purpose vehicle, a company that will be empowered and resourced to run this hospital independent of the MoH but it is owned by the University of Ghana. That was the agreement. The agreement said the University will own it, the government will provide resources for 5 years after 5 years the facility should be able to generate enough income and run on its own.”

A former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia added his voice to the debate and mentioned that indeed the University was from the beginning charged to manage the facility explaining that the phase two of the project which was expected to cost about 48 Million dollars was agreed to be paid by the University.

A situation he said meant the University was going to be responsible for payment of phase two of the project and also fund the cost of management after 5 years.

“The whole idea of this project was that there was a phase 2, which at the time, was going to cost us $48 million. That was a loan that had to be guaranteed by the University of Ghana. By so doing, it meant that when the loan is taken out, the University of Ghana would be responsible for making the payments on the $50 million, not the $217 million.

That is why it was important that they had management control. The whole hospital’s running costs was going to be dealt with by government for only five years. After that the running costs plus the $50 million had to be paid for by the running of the hospital,” he said on Point Blank on Eyewitness News.

“It became imperative that Legon, that was meant to guarantee that loan was to be involved in the management of the hospital. From Day 1, it was crafted in the manner in which Legon would have some level of management control and Board of Director control of the hospital,” he added.

The Ministry of Heath, however, hold the grounds with the notion that once the facility was funded by the government, it automatically becomes controlled by the government.

A report issued on the 22nd of January 2018 by shows the Health Ministry remaining adamant about the University’s ownership of the property.

“The Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu has rejected the University of Ghana's claim of ownership when it played no role in securing a loan facility for the construction which began in 2013 and is yet to be fully completed. He said on Joy FM Super Morning Show Monday, "I don't know why we are stretching it this much",” the reported stated.

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