President John Evans Atta Mills on Wednesday took a further step in redeeming his pledge to improve the nation’s health delivery when he cut the sod for work to commence on a Chinese Government assisted 100-bed capacity general hospital and malaria research centre at Teshie in Accra.
He reiterated GovernmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment to improve the health delivery, but stressed healthy lifestyles, sound environmental maintenance and proper sanitation for disease prevention to save the nation money to tackle other areas of national development concerns.
While appealing to local and traditional authorities to create the necessary conducive environment for the project to be completed on schedule, President Mills gave an assurance of fair distribution of national projects.
The hospital, located at Teshie Tsuibleo in Accra, is being constructed at a cost of US$13 million with Chinese component of US$7.5 grant.
China Geo Engineering Corporation is the contractor for the project which is scheduled to be completed in 16 months.
The sod-cutting ceremony marked the first of planned health projects under the Mills Administration.
The project is in furtherance of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, under which the Government of Ghana made a request to the People’s Republic of China for the construction of 100-bed General Hospital with a malaria research centre.
The facility would serve the Teshie-Nungua communities, who for some time now have been going to either the La or the Tema General Hospitals, the two nearest public health facilities, which are kilometres away.
Facilities included in the design are full medical equipment, out patient unit, radiology unit with CT and x-ray, two operating theatres incorporating ultra-sound, enterospy, gastrocopy and electrodiogram equipment.
The hospital, which would also serve as a scientific herbal treatment centre, is designed further to render services in optometry, accident and emergency, maternal and child health, physiotherapy and ear, nose and throat (ENT).
President Mills urged the managers of the project to ensure prudence and good management.
He repeated the government’s assurance that the National Health Insurance would not be scrapped, but rather Government would enhance its operations with a one time premium payment, which, he said, was an achievable goal.
President Mills expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government for the assistance, and prayed for wisdom and direction for the government to be able to fulfill its promises, which he described as sacred to the people of Ghana.
Mr Yu Wenzhe, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, said good health care delivery was one of the main ways to the advancement of the social and economic well being of the people.
He spoke of Chinese assistance in the health sector to a number of African countries, which, he said, China saw as reliable partners.
Another area that China has committed itself to is the construction of the Bui Hydro Power Dam Project, and Mr Wenzhe said China would keep all its commitments to Ghana.
Dr George Yankey, Minister of Health, said Government would exempt all construction equipment machines and medical equipment and other materials required for the project and personal belongings of the Chinese engineering technicians specifically assigned to the project from the payment of customs. There would also be VAT relief for the purchase of local building materials.
Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister Youth and Sports and MP for Ledzokuku (Teshie), called for assistance from Government to improve the water situation. He also appealed to government to construct a bypass at the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Teshie Bush RoadÃ¢â‚¬Â to ease the traffic congestion on the main Teshie-La Road.
A former Member of the Council of State, Nii Adjei Anang, who chaired the function, called for eyes to be kept on the site to prevent pilfering of construction materials.
Among those present at the ceremony were Dr Gladys Norley Ashitey, former Deputy Minister for Health, former MP for Ledzokuku, Mr Daniel Amartey Mensah, the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly Chief Executive, chiefs, elders and the clergy.