We’ll Summon Officials Over ‘Abandoned’ Health Facilities – Yieleh Chireh
The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, has 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.
Citi News has reported on a number of health projects undertaken by successive governments which cost the taxpayer nearly 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.
Speaking to Citi News‘ Parliamentary correspondent, Duke Opoku Mensah on Tuesday, 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 said.
He also accused the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu of not being on top of issues within his sector describing him as too “slow.”
“I think the Minister should up his game. There are different institutions maybe constructing this and they all do not come under the Ministry of Health. But I still think that by this time he [Health Minister], should have got grasp of all that is happening in the health sector. And many of the things that are going on there, you cannot blame him alone, but I think that he should have a grasp of what is left and what needs to be done.”
Although Mr. Yieleh Chireh acknowledged that most of the abandoned health facilities were not constructed by the Ministry of Health, he said if the ministry wants to oversee the affairs of the facilities, it should do it in a professional manner devoid of politics.
“The facilities were constructed by quasi-government agencies. The Bank of Ghana doesn’t come directly under the Ministry of Health. The Ports Authority also built one. But whilst that is true, there are many things that this government is slow to take decision on. In the case of the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the facts are there. When you politicize health, then we have a problem. When you want people to think that the edifice everybody has seen is not yet completed and the contractors are no longer on the site, I think it could only be politics,” he added.