Expensive Equipment Rusting Away
Despite, a promise by the University of Ghana (UG), to put into operation the first phase of its newly built Medical Centre which was completed in November 2016 and commissioned in January 2017, the facility is yet to be operational, following a huge disagreements over the legitimate manager of the hospital.
The state of the art medical equipment bought and fixed inside the impressive edifice built by the Israelis, are rusting away as the government of Ghana, acting through the Ministry of Health, fights the authorities of UG, over the ownership and administration of the hospital.
Some 800 personnel are needed to get the facility fully operational, and although, people have been interviewed in some cases, they are yet to be deplored.
In June 2011, the John Evans Atta Mills Cabinet, gave approval for a loan facility from Israel for the design, construction, and installation of medical equipment for the hospital facility for the UG.
In 2012, government signed a contract with Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility and hand it over to the university. The university, designated 400 acres of land for the entire project.
Phase 1 has 650 beds and Phase 2 will add 350 beds to increase the total number of beds to 1000.
The facility is expected to be self-financing, when opened to the public with Sheba Medical Centre in Israel, assisting the facility to provide the most efficient healthcare that would measure up to global standards.
Sheba Medical Centre is the largest healthcare providers in Israel, and University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) was modeled after the Israel health facility. The project which is located on a 400 acre land behind Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, cost $217 million.
The facility was constructed by the UG, through a loan acquired by the Government of Ghana from the Israeli Government. The facility will house all health institutions of the UG, currently located at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The facility is also supposed to lead to a relocation of the University of Ghana Medical School from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to Legon, reducing the drudgery medical students and lecturers go through each day to attend lectures.
Reports are that, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana in 2015, which gave ownership of the US$217 million facility to the university.
Following this agreement, the university established a company, the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) Limited to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will oversee the operations of the facility.
The institution also went ahead to obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission to recruit staff for the running of the facility.
But the Ministry of Health in recent times, is laying claims to the facility, leading to uncertainties over who has the responsibility to manage the centre.
Thus, staff recruitment has stalled, and ultramodern medical equipment lie idle, as they collect dust.
Phase One of the project, was commissioned by then President John Mahama, who charged his successor, Nana Akufo-Addo, to work hard to ensure the facility is made fully operational.
Discussions are currently ongoing to secure a 48 million dollar loan to commence the next phase of the project.
The Ministry of Health, is yet to comment on these developments.
Recently, the interim CEO of the University of Ghana Medical Center, Professor Aaron Lawson, dismissed claims that work on the facility, has been abandoned.
Professor Lawson, had stated that, the facility would be opened to the public last October, but that did not materialize.
Phase 2 of the project includes; 350 beds, boasts of up to date medical gadgets for treating complicated medical conditions, and a helipad to airlift emergency cases, as well as a medical hotel.
The US$217 million project was expected to be fully operational, once a $48 million parliamentary approval was given.
However, concerns have been raised from some sections of the public that, the facility has been abandoned since the new government took over, but Professor Lawson, insisted the project was still on course, and that the government, has shown the willingness to secure the funds necessary to ensure its completion.
“The hospital has not been abandoned. It has never been abandoned and I don’t think it will ever be abandoned. We have engaged the current government and they are keenly interested in soliciting for the 48 million dollar loan for that purpose. For patients to come in, we are looking at sometime in October,” he told Citi News
Professor Lawson, also stated that, they had started receiving online applications from health and non-health professionals for employment at the Medical Centre.
“We received clearance from the Ministry of Finance a few weeks ago so we have advertised. We are doing online applications of various categories of health and non-health posts. The deadline for submission of applications is July 14.”
More to come!