The Western Region director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, has made a startling revelation to the effect that most of the big health facilities in the region are unable to pay their electricity bills.
He indicated that because of the situation the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had been threatening to disconnect the facilities from power supply.
The government has indicated that it would no longer pay the bills of health facilities in the country and has therefore directed that all medical facilities should pay their own electricity bills.
Speaking in an interview with DAILY GUIDE , Dr. Tinkorang suggested that the central government should first consider paying the outstanding bills the health facilities owe ECG before the measure is taken.
He queried, ‘The government policy is that the facilities should pay for their own bills; what about the outstanding bills?’
Dr. Tinkorang urged, ‘The government should first consider paying the outstanding bills before we can sit down and discuss whether we should put the electricity cost on patients or not.’
He revealed that the Tarkwa Government Hospital alone owes ECG over GH¢700,000, adding that the Enchi Government Hospital also owes huge sums of money.
He attributed the huge debt partly to the kinds of machines the hospitals use in the health care delivery system.
‘In the Tarkwa situation the ECG threatened to disconnect the health facility which serves the people of the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality and beyond, but my office had to come in to plead with the ECG. You can imagine the magnitude of electricity power a machine like the X-Ray will consume’, he said in an interview conducted after the deputy minister of health, Victor Bampoe, had paid a courtesy call on the regional director of health.
Dr. Tinkorang indicated that the situation had become a serious burden on hospitals and other health centres in the region due to unavailability of funds to clear the debts adding, ‘I am currently in dilemma as to what to do.’
He stated, ‘If we decide to put the electricity cost on the patients, the health insurance will not be prepared to do that.’
The deputy minister of health gave the assurance that he would discuss the issue with his boss to see how best the problem could be solved
FROM Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi
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