GMA Plays Softball With Gov’t Over UGMC Ownership

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The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), appears to be playing softball with the Akufo-Addo government in the ensuing tussle over the right to manage the University of Ghana’s state-of-the-art Medical Centre inaugurated in 2016.

The Association, which was very vocal less than two years ago, under the erstwhile Mahama government, says it is not interested in who manages the facility, but all it is seeking is that, the President sees to it that the impasse is resolved.

In a statement issued after a meeting of the National Executive Council, the GMA, called on President Akufo-Addo to bring to an end what it calls “unhealthy tussle” over the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre built by the Mahama administration for use by the University for research, teaching and medical care.

According to the release signed by the President of the GMA, Dr. Frank Ankobea and the General Secretary, Dr. Justice Yankson, the Association was very much dissatisfied with the bureaucratic delays associated with the granting of financial clearance for medical officers resulting in highly trained doctors sitting at home, while many hospitals are without doctors.

Interestingly, in September 2016, the same GMA, had without any invitation fought the Mahama administration over the ownership of the Centre, saying the then government, had nothing to do with the construction of the facility. The GMA, then insisted the University owns the facility and must be allowed to manage it.

Its General Secretary then, Dr. Frank Serebour, from nowhere jumped into the fray, when the NDC, included the facility as one of it numerous achievements, insisting it was the University, which acquired the loan and not the NDC government.

It took former Minister of Finance, Kwabena Duffour, to insist it was the government of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, which he served as Finance Minister, secured the loan to build the facility.

“Those who are making such allegations let me ask them this, if a Finance Minister presents papers covering a project to cabinet, and it’s approved in parliament, who seeks for the loan? Definitely is Ghana government…… it’s really disturbing that some people are making such allegations”, Dr. Duffuor said.

He went on, “It’s not true. I was personally involved in the process of that loan as the Finance Minister and worked on all the papers. One Dr. Lawson was the Coordinator of this project; ask him the details of the project”.

The ex-Finance Minister added, “Government sought for the loan for the University from Israel, I signed all the papers, they should come forward with their papers so that we debate the issue, all the documents can be found in the Finance and Health Ministries. I am telling you the truth”.

However, the GMA is singing a different song saying it is does not want to know who has the right to own it except that it thinks “there should be a speedy and amicable solution to this impasse.”

It is not interested in who owns the facility or has the right to manage it.

“The GMA, therefore, calls on His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana to speedily intervene to bring an immediate resolution to this matter, adding “this would ensure that the facility is as quickly as possible started to offer the much-needed health services and research it was designed to offer, and also generate the necessary income.”

Their statement comes on the heels of a Cabinet release directing the Ministry of Health to take over the affairs of the Centre days after National Security operatives stormed there, ostensibly to take charge, but were fiercely resisted by the University authorities.

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