…Accra psychiatric boss reveals name of coordinator
The Presidency, has usurped the role of the Health Ministry and taken charge of the government’s Agenda 111 projects with a coordinator appointed to see to the execution of the One Hundred and eleven health facilities across the country.
About a week ago, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, in response to The Herald’s publication on the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, denied reports making the rounds that the facility and its 12-acre land, have been sold to private investors and disclosed that tenders have been received from interested entities and were evaluated.
But it has since emerged that the Health Ministry, has no information on the government’s Agenda 111 projects but rather, the job is being run as a special project and moved under the Office of the President.
This comes with another revelation by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, that he had seen a new design of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital from a Ghanaian company called “Sutherland and Sutherland” and together with others made some inputs, confirming the Health Minister’s position that procurements for is Agenda 111 is in full swing.
Dr Akwasi Osei, appears to have more information about the project than the Minister of Health.
In his response to The Herald’s publication on the Accra Mental Hospital, Mr Agyeman Manu had disclosed that “it is to be redeveloped under Agenda 111 into a new modern 220 bed Psychiatric Hospital under an EPC Contract”.
Mr Agyemang-Manu, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, on Monday, March 14, 2022, said that “Tenders have been received and are being evaluated currently. Afterwards, it will go for VFM, Cabinet and loan will go for Parliamentary approval” leaving behind many unanswered questions especially on Public Procurements procedure and its laws.
The Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH), Dr Pinaman Appau, at a press conference yesterday took over the roles of Mr Agyemang Manu and that of the Mental Health Authority boss, asking Ghanaians to disregard reports emanating from her outfit that the land that houses the facility, has been sold to private developers.
In the process, she mentioned a certain Kwabena Nyarko, as the Co-ordinator of government’s Agenda 111 project who is working on the project.
Additional information gathered later by The Herald was to reveal that Agenda 111 projects, has been placed directly under the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, with Kwabena Nyarko answerable to her not the Health Minister.
Interestingly, Dr Pinaman Appau’s press conference coincided with the Health Ministry’s revelation that it has no information on the government’s Agenda 111 project.
The admission was contained in its response to a JoyNews request for information on the projected government projects to be “the largest investment in healthcare infrastructure in the country since independence.”
Pursuant to the RTI Act (2019), ACT 989, the JoyNews Research Desk on February 11 wrote to the ministry seeking: Copies of the policy or policies underpinning the project, Detailed project proposal including feasibility studies and funding sources secured, List of all districts where projects will be sited, Detailed plan for commencement and completion of each of the projects and Detailed plan for staffing and operation of each of the hospitals.
But the Ministry in a reply on Monday, March 21, said “Per our records, we do not have the information in our custody.”
Interestingly, in January this year, the Health Minister, told Ghana Television that the government’s ambitious Agenda 111 project had made progress of 35 per cent.
“On average, we have done close to about 35 percent of the work on all the 101 facilities… There were a lot of pre-contract arrangements, things that we needed to do; siting, topography surveys to ensure that there are places where contractors can move into.”
President Akufo-Addo on August 17, 2021, launched the Agenda 111 project.
The project will cover the design, procurement, construction, equipping and commissioning of 101 District Hospitals, 6 Regional Hospitals in newly created regions, and 1 Regional Hospital in the Western Region, 2 Psychiatric Hospitals in Kumasi and Tamale, a redeveloped Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
The project is to ensure that Ghanaians nationwide have access to quality healthcare services and with the National Health Insurance Scheme, boost the provision of healthcare infrastructure and financial accessibility to healthcare.
Doctors, nurses and other health personnel will have accommodation in the hospitals to be constructed.
According to the Agenda 111 detailed document, the facilities that will be enjoyed by Ghanaians include four state-of-the-art surgical theatres for maternity, obstetrics and gynaecology, a full complement of male, female, pediatric and isolation wards, among others.
According to the government, on completion, the venture will be “the largest investment in healthcare infrastructure in the country since independence.”
Dr Pinaman Appau, had been explained that the APH has rather been earmarked for a redevelopment project under the Agenda 111 program, which will begin in September 2022 contrary to her earlier position to the nurses and other health professional at the facility that they should pack out from the hospital by June, that investors were taking over the land.
“The facility is being downsized from a 600 capacity bed to a 220 capacity bed because we do not want huge mental health facilities, as it is the best practice in mental health care across the world. We are bringing the service to the communities, to your doorsteps. So, the facilities will be taking care of more specialized cases.”
It is unclear, what happens to the rest of the 12-acre land which the currently 600-bed hospital sits on if the Akufo-Addo government is putting up a 220-bed facility.
The re-development project, according to the hospital’s director, will take a year and a half to be completed.
Dr Appau, further stated that the facility currently has about 320 patients, adding that they have begun intensifying repatriation of some of them.
“To the best of the knowledge of management, no part of this land has been sold, nor is it going to be sold. What we know is that there is going to be a redevelopment project that we have been informed of since 2017. We are not relocating. We are just moving our services from one part of the facility to another for the re-development to go on.”
Dr Pinaman, also explained the rationale behind the downsizing of the hospital’s bed capacity after the redevelopment project. Over the past weeks, rumors had it that the Accra Psychiatric Hospital will be relocating as the land has been sold, a report disputed by the Director.
Dr Akwasi Osei, boss of the Mental Health Authority, had in a radio banter with The Herald directed all procurement queries on the intended 220-bed new Accra Psychiatric Hospital to the Minister of Health, since he and his outfit was not involved in that matter.
He revealed being party to a new design of the hospital by a Ghanaian company called “Sutherland and Sutherland” and made suggestions to that effect, but cannot speak to the ongoing procurement issues which according to the Health Minister, had gotten to the stage of tender evaluation, failing to mention when the tender process was advertised in the dailies as required by the Public Procurement Laws.
Ghana’s Chief Psychiatrist said this in a banter with The Herald’s managing editor on Accra FM, on March 16, 2022.