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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Columnist: Aboba, Mathias

Commendation to director-general of Ghana health service:

For his leadership in ending attacks on Dr. Awoonor-Williams

Recently, the Ghana Health Service issued a statement signed by the Director-General Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira declaring the former Regional Director of Health Services for the Upper East Region, Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams inculpable of allegations of “cars theft” leveled against him by his successor.

In a story carried by the Ghanaian Times, on January 26th 2017, the Director-General was quoted as having said “Dr. Awoonor-Williams has done nothing untoward with respect to the management of the vehicles during his stewardship in the Upper East Regional Health Directorate”. The Times further quoted a section of the statement that noted conclusively that “The Ghana Health Service therefore wishes to put on record that these allegations are completely false as no vehicles have been stolen or missing from the Service”.

Unfortunately, I do not intend to retrace the history of the allegations about the missing vehicles made against Dr. Awoonor-Williams by his successor Dr. Kofi Issah here. I am never also interested in retelling the successful leadership of Dr. Awoonor-Williams. In fact, the hall marks of his great leadership are the good performance indicators he left everywhere he went dating back to his previous positions from District Director of Health Service in Nkwanta District in the Volta Region to his days in the Upper East region and to his current position at the Headquarters of the Ghana Health Service as Director of Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division.

As someone who worked at the Regional Health Directorate before in the role of a communications officer during part of the tenure of Dr. Awoonor-Williams, I followed the development of the story of the “missing cars” with a lot of concern. I became particularly concerned when the office of the new Regional Director continued to make public statements about the missing cars and disregarding clarification from the Director-General that the cars in question were earmarked and moved to headquarters. According to the explanation, with the exception of the VW Passat which his office granted request for temporary use as official car for the incoming head of the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division, the rest of the four vehicles which were bought under the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program (GEHIP) were required by the funding partners to be used to start the extended phase of GEHIP in the Northern and Volta regions.

But whilst I was wondering what Dr. Kofi Issa and his administration sought to achieve by their actions, my greatest worry was how possible and how soon the leadership of the health service was going to stop the damage that was being caused to the hard-earned reputation of Dr. Awoonor-Williams and the integrity of the health service in general. Like many who followed the story, l became very anxious at a point when it appeared the issue was not ending anytime soon as expected. However, today, I can say l am happy the matter eventually came to an end. I am happy not only because Dr. Awoonor-Williams has been exonerated but also because of the demonstration of true leadership by the hierarchy of the health service especially the Director-General in ensuring that they stood by the truth and defended the man who deserves the defense of all well-meaning Ghanaians.

It is in this regard, that I wish to add my voice of commendation to the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira for his exceptional leadership by standing up for the integrity of the Health Service and interest of the Ghanaian public. I also want to commend Dr. Awoonor-Williams for his show of maturity and strong character throughout the time he was being vilified for no wrong doing yet he held his peace and avoided trading insults and other bad exchanges. By allowing his good deeds to speak for him, I want to commend him and say he will continue to be a shining example of the kind of leaders that Ghana needs.

Last of all, I want to take the opportunity to remind the people of the Upper East Region (myself inclusive) especially traditional leaders, youth groups and civil society that, Dr. Awoonor-Williams may not have expected us to erect a memorial in his honor when he devoted himself to transforming the health care system in the region, but he least expects any individual or group in the region to lead or join a sinister attack on him after all what he did for the region. God bless the Ghana Health Service! God bless the Director-General of the Health Service Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira! God bless Dr. Awoonor-Williams! God bless Ghana!

Story by: Mathias Aboba The writer is former Communications Officer @Regional Health Directorate Upper East Region. Contact mattaboba@gmail.com