It was not a coincidence that the 650-bed capacity University of Ghana Medical Centre, which was completed in 2016, before the birth of this administration, suffered its fair share of political cruelty, whenever there is a change of government.
If the hospital was a humanbeing, it could best be said to have been asked to proceed on leave.
The government, which was not candid to Ghanaians about the delay in opening the facility, kept shifting the goalpost, as to when the hospital was going to become operational.
At one point the minister of health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, said that, they needed to fix the generator, only for journalists to later discover that, the facility had a generator.
All the noise, pleads, agitations etc, fell on deaf ears until families started losing their loved ones to what became known as ‘no bed syndrome’.
Again, A University student, Reginald Sekyi-Brown, whose passion and determination to get the hospital open, got arrested when he confronted the first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, while delivering a speech at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital with the inscription “open UGMC now”
These two unfortunate and avoidable instances compelled the government to reluctantly give in and opened the facility.
A hospital which is comparable to the best in advance countries and said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is being underutilized.
On July 18, the minister of health announced the opening of the hospital. According to ministry officials, the facility will start off with about 30 to 40 staff approved by the Ministry, which will need at least two weeks to be begin recruitment of staff to other unused facilities, after which they will be made operational.
The hospital more than a month after its opening is still operating below capacity, it is only admitting Out Patient Department (OPD) referral cases.
It is sad to see how after spending $217 million raised through loans from Israel, to build a hospital authorities are failing to allow it to serve its purpose.
Meanwhile, Cabinet on June 10, approved $50 million for the second phase of the UGMC. Parliament on the other hand, on July 16, approved a 47 million Euro loan for the completion of phase two of the facility.
The two figures, do not sit well with this newspaper. We are of the considered opinion that, the inability and refusal of the government to fully operationalise the facility, is because someone did not get any ‘kickback’ during the construction of Phase One.
Medical equipments are going to waste; the government cannot be playing politics with the facility. It is time to open the hospital to the public.