General News of Monday, 28 May 2018
Pressure is mounting on the government to open the 597-bed University of Ghana Medical Centre which has been under lock and key for over a year after it was put up.
A final year Pharmacy student of the University of Ghana, Reginald Sekyi-Brown says the government must open it for use or give cogent reasons why the facility must remain locked.
He is leading an online campaign with petitions from concerned Ghanaians to demand answers from the government.
The $217 million health facility which started in 2012 was inaugurated by the then president John Mahama in 2016 months before he lost power.
The project which is in two phases has eight separate buildings which house different specialized centres such as the emergency, imaging, operating theatres and laboratories.
The second phase of the project which will add 350 beds to the facility will also provide specialist facilities including a heart centre, a cancer treatment centre, a rehabilitation centre and a hotel for families of patients is however yet to begin.
Parliament is said to have approved $50 million for the completion of the second phase.
But even before the second phase will begin, there have been concerns the facilities already put up will deteriorate fast if they are not put to use.
Joy News’ Matilda Wemegah has visited the facility and reported there was no activity except for few gardeners and security personnel on duty.
A tour of the facility including the theatre rooms shows a spacious and well lit operating room with overheard surgical lights.
They are all kept under cold temperature with air-condition running for more than a year.
She said the main facility looks complete from the outside but the new government is not convinced.
Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu said the new facility is lacking in some essential facilities and named standby generators as one of them.
“You cannot run MRIs and imaging equipment on the national grid that has the tendency of going up and down like that. The backup generator is not there yet,” he said.
Checks by Joy News show the facility has two standby generators fixed on top of the building.
A former Deputy Health Minister Rojo Mettle Nunoo is accusing the current government of deliberately putting everything on hold.
He said the Health Minister, Mr Agyemang Manu is the “incompetent reason why the facility is not working.”
But Reginald Sekyi-Brown insists the facility must be made to work. He has so far gathered over a 1,000 petitions to force the government to explain why the hospital has been locked.
He said the government has not given any timelines as to when the facility will be opened.
“Latest by Friday, the presidency should respond else the Ghanaian people will take the next step,” he said.