A former Interior Minister and Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, says Ghanaians at the moment do not need government to construct 111 hospitals for them.
According to him, the immediate solution to health challenges in the country lies with furnishing existing hospitals with the needed equipment, more employing doctors and running them effectively.
Speaking on Upfront on JoyNews, Mr Bani said, “do we need hospitals to be built? Yes, we do. Do we need 111 hospitals to be built like right now, when our people are dying from mere sicknesses or illnesses that could be addressed if we have modern equipment at their doorsteps? We can’t do that.”
He said the fact is that “many Ghanaians including himself do not have issues with building new hospitals; however, many existing ones are facing challenges that could be solved with the needed attention and resources while construction for others has been halted.
“This (Agenda 111) is not the priority. What we need now is to equip the existing hospitals that we have now, complete those that have not been completed, place the medical personnel in those hospitals and manage them effectively.”
On August 17, government launched its ambitious Agenda 111 policy at Trede in the Ashanti Region.
The project will cover the design, procurement, construction, equipping and commissioning of 101 District Hospitals, 6 Regional Hospitals in the newly created regions, and 1 Regional Hospital in the Western Region, 2 Psychiatric Hospitals in Kumasi and Tamale and 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.
The project is estimated to be completed in 18 months.
However, Mr Bani believes that Ghana needs existing hospitals working to their maximum capacity instead, adding that invalids should visit hospitals and have their problems solved.
“I don’t have a problem with building hospitals, and I don’t think a lot of people do but let’s have the grandmas and aunties when they get sick, go to the nearest hospitals, have the lab equipment to detect what is wrong with them and have the prescription to cure them. That is what we need right now.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney General has been sued over procurement breaches in the award of contract for the construction of 111 health facilities across the country.
South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, in a writ filed at the High Court, says government ignored Ghana’s procurement laws when it awarded a building design contract to Adjaye and Associates.
He alleges that $6 million of public money has already been paid to the company as consultancy fees. This, he argues, breaches portions of Ghana’s constitution.