The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, has said the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, appears “too slow” on the job.
Yieleh Chireh said he does not see any sense of urgency in the work of the Health Minister, adding that the Minister also seems not to be consulting professionals in his sector before taking major decisions leading to the numerous challenges facing the sector.
“…It doesn’t appear as if he is consulting, it doesn’t appear as if he is listening and he is too slow for the health sector in terms of what should have been done,” the Ranking Member added.
Yieleh Chireh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Wa West in the Upper West Region on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress, made the observation in a Citi News interview on Tuesday in connection with the number of completed health projects that have been abandoned across the country.
Abandoned completed health projects
Citi News has in the last few days exposed a number of health projects undertaken by successive governments which cost the taxpayer several millions of dollars, but have been abandoned.
The major ones that have come up for mention are the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Bank of Ghana Hospital, the solar-powered medical centre at the Volo Digital Village in the Volta Region, as well as the GHc320,000 CHPS compound at Teshie which are all not in use.
With the University of Ghana Medical Centre, although the first phase has been completed, there is a tussle between the University of Ghana and the Health Ministry, as to who to manage the facility, with government saying it needs an additional $6 million to make it operational.
With regards to the Bank of Ghana Hospital, the Board is yet to take a decision on what module of management to adopt, although the facility was built in three years and largely completed in 2017.
In the case of the Volo Medical Centre, health professionals are unwilling to work there due to the lack of staff accommodation as well as the location of the facility.
Stop doing politics
Yieleh Chiereh in the interview with Citi News’ Parliamentary correspondent, Duke Mensah Opoku, further accused the Heath Minister of politicizing the issues in the health sector, hence their difficulty in addressing them.
“I have restrained myself from condemning people from the beginning; less than one year, but after one year there is no excuse at all. If you listen to the Minister of Health, he just didn’t want to take a decision to give credence to what has been done by the previous government. So when you politicize health then we have a problem.”
“Everything he has said is always political and it is not good for the country. He should engage and listen to the advice of this technical people – he is not a health person, he is an accountant and everybody will respect him if he does that,” Yieleh Chireh added.
We’ll summon officials over ‘abandoned’ health facilities
On the abandoned health projects, the ranking member hinted of moves to haul before Parliament heads of sector agencies that undertook various health projects, completed them, but have not opened them to the public.
Yieleh Chireh said his Committee will surely enquire from the sector departments the reason why these facilities are not in use.
“I have the duty to invite them to parliament; the committee will work on all these things. The controversies you have heard, the committee would have to call the various heads of departments to appear before the committee to find out what is the real issue,” he added.