The Coalition of NGOs in Health has described the controversy over government’s reluctance to open the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) as “hypocrisy” fuelled by parochial interests of some politicians.
The president for the Coalition, Dr Gabriel Gbiel Bernakuu, who spoke on the Morning Xpress on radio XYZ 93.1MHZ maintained he could not understand why the Ghana Medical Association, the Ghana Health Service, governance think Tanks, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and other stakeholders cannot take on government for abandoning the $217 facility after so much noise about the need to provide state of the art quaternary health facilities to save lives.
“We are just playing a hypocritical role in the health sector.we are playing with Ghanaians…When there is a change of government we want to abandon them [projects of previous government] and start new ones. What’s that? That’s causing financial loss to the state…We are hypocrites,” Dr Bernakuu told the Host of the Morning Xpress, Neil Armstrong-Mortagbe.
Dr Gabriel Bernakuu
He indicated that the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals are expected to save lives but for political reasons, the government has not opened the UGMC which he said was very bad.
“Why are we playing with the health of the people in Ghana?” he quizzed while stressing that the reluctance of government to open the UGMC and other health facilities including CHIP compounds is why there are thousands of unemployed health practitioners in the country.
Dr Bernakuu who is also the President of the College of Community and Organisation Development (CCOD) further admitted pressure groups including Civil Service Organisations (CSOs) have failed to get the government to do the right thing, and revealed there are ongoing negotiations between his outfit and with some stakeholders to push government to do the right thing.
“…We belong to other health sub committees… we will be intensifying the efforts of ensuring equity, accountable health sector in Ghana,” he added
Arrest Over Campaign
His comments were in relation to a final Year Pharmacy student of the University of Ghana who breached security to display an #OpenUGMCnow campaign placard, as the First Lady delivered an address.
Reginald Sakyi-Brown was immediately arrested and later granted bail after scores of students of the University of Ghana including the General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students massed up at the Korle Bu Police station to show solidarity.
Back And Forth
The 650-bed facility, constructed by Israelis, is the first of its kind in West Africa and second to only few hospitals in South Africa.
The Medical Centre was inaugurated by former President John Mahama in 2016 but has been closed till date.
While the University believes processes it has a direct oversight role of the Medical Centre, the Akufo-Addo led government thinks otherwise.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, earlier this year said government needed about $50 million to complete the phase two of the project.
But the Minority in Parliament has reiterated the facility was in full shape before it was commissioned.
A Deputy Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Robert Kugnam-Lem Baba says the assertions of the government is false.
Mr Baba who spoke on the Morning Xpress on Thursday described the development as unfortunate stressing that “people are dying” because the facility is locked.
“Everything about the hospital had been completed by the previous government…that Hospital can employ a lot more people and reduce the tensions we are having in the country,” said the legislator who believes “there is no reason” to get the hospital closed.
The MP said he had personally spoken to the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana who told him he had been briefed of the facility’s readiness for use.
Story by: Henryson Okrah/myxyzonline.com/93.1MHZ