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Opinions of Thursday, 26 August 2021

Columnist: Prince Adjei

Agenda 111: A nationwide project to ensure adequate access to quality healthcare for all

The benefits of Agenda 111 when completed, cannot be overemphasized play videoThe benefits of Agenda 111 when completed, cannot be overemphasized

Healthcare delivery is a very essential service for citizens and the reasons are not farfetched.

As a matter of fact, nations that place economic development and welfare of their people at the center of their activities, do not downplay the health of the citizens.

The saying that, “A country with healthy people is a wealthy nation,” amply demonstrates the fact that indeed, the wealth of every nation is also dependent on the health of its people.

It is for this reason that healthcare must be viewed as a priority in Ghana.

Over the years, the country has managed healthcare as one of its topmost priorities with several governments doing their bit in seeking good and affordable healthcare delivery for the masses.

The contributions towards this have been both direct and indirect, ranging from developing health infrastructure through the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme to the construction of good road networks and the provision of potable water for communities among others.

Despite years of investment in the sector, healthcare infrastructure continues to be a major challenge in the country.

It is estimated that out of the 265 districts in the country, more than 88 have no hospitals properly so-called. This is minus the lack of healthcare facilities at the community level.

There are situations where sick persons have died on their way to referral hospital facilities due to the inadequacy of such facilities across the country.

It is for this reason that, the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must be commended for his bold and ambitious decision to build district-level hospitals for every district in the country.

Agenda 111 will focus on the construction of seven regional hospitals and two psychiatric hospitals in addition to the redevelopment of the Accra psychiatric hospital with 101 district hospitals with all the necessary facilities befitting of a healthcare facility.

In other words, at least, one hundred and eleven hospitals(111) will be built under the initiative to help address inadequate hospital infrastructure in the country.

To demonstrate its commitment toward the realization of this initiative, the government has injected $100million into the project as the commencement funding.

This initial funding shows how seriously the government takes the execution of the project which is scheduled to be completed within the time frame of 18 months.

Interestingly, some have expressed doubts and have questioned the ability and the political will of the Akufo-Addo led administration to prosecute this monumental project.

To them, the announcement of the project was simply playing to the gallery and for political expedience.

However, there are many that are also very optimistic about the government delivering on this ambitious project.

The level of optimism stems from the government’s own performance in relation to its earlier performance- be it the Free Senior High School, One District One Factory, Restoration of Nurses, and Teacher Trainee Allowances among others.

The benefits of Agenda 111 when completed, cannot be overemphasized.

Beyond providing access to quality healthcare infrastructure, it will also bolster employment in the country.

It is estimated that the completion of the entire 111 hospitals will create in excess of about 25,000 direct jobs and this does not include the number of jobs to be generated through the construction of the facilities.

It is important not to forget that there are many trained doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other paramedics who are yet to be employed because of the lack of space and the completion of these hospitals will provide an avenue for them to be employed.

In addition to this, the project also has the potential to attract lots of investors into the country and this is amply demonstrated by the responses so far from the investor community following the President’s marketing of it to the investor community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has now become a global pandemic which has exposed the weak healthcare system of many countries and the advanced countries are not spared either.

This also underscores the relevance of the project especially in the wake of the deadly COVID-19.