The Minority in Parliament has called on government to back down on efforts to assume control of the newly constructed hospital at the University of Ghana.
The Minority has in a statement Friday explained that the hospital was constructed at the behest of the University and appropriate measures have been established to enable the university operate and manage the facility for academic purposes.
“This Hospital had been part of a bigger plan of the University of Ghana to develop a comprehensive Medical Centre towards achieving independence in medical education, research and care in a sustainable manner. The prime mover of this idea, the late Professor Charles Easmon, first Dean of the Ghana Medical School, together with Professor Honda of Japan anticipated funding from JICA for implementation of this medical complex. The Noguchi Memorial Institute was constructed in 1979 to mark the beginning of the development of that project.
The rest of the plan was held in abeyance till 2011 when our late President, Professor Evans Atta Mills cut the sod for the building of the hospital for the University. Other projects for the complex including a School of Biomedical Sciences, a Dental School, Nursing and other buildings for other allied health institutions for which reason a College of Health Sciences had been established were to follow to fully implement the plan. Witnessing the sod-cutting was the Chancellor of the University of Ghana, His Excellency Kofi Annan,” portions of the statement signed by Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu said.
The statement comes on the back of recent attempts by the Health ministry to take control of the facility after a directive by cabinet. The university resisted the move creating an impasse.
The hospital was commissioned by former President John Mahama having started under the late John Evans Atta Mills.
Below are details of the statement by the Minority
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINORITY NDC PARLIAMENT ON THE TRUE STATUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GHANA HOSPITAL
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in Parliament is shocked and dismayed at efforts by the Minister of Health to distort and misrepresent the terms, understanding and rationale that underpinned the establishment of the University of Ghana Hospital.
This Hospital had been part of a bigger plan of the University of Ghana to develop a comprehensive Medical Centre towards achieving independence in medical education, research and care in a sustainable manner. The prime mover of this idea, the late Professor Charles Easmon, first Dean of the Ghana Medical School, together with Professor Honda of Japan anticipated funding from JICA for implementation of this medical complex. The Noguchi Memorial Institute was constructed in 1979 to mark the beginning of the development of that project.
The rest of the plan was held in abeyance till 2011 when our late President, Professor Evans Atta Mills cut the sod for the building of the hospital for the University. Other projects for the complex including a School of Biomedical Sciences, a Dental School, Nursing and other buildings for other allied health institutions for which reason a College of Health Sciences had been established were to follow to fully implement the plan. Witnessing the sod-cutting was the Chancellor of the University of Ghana, His Excellency Kofi Annan.
Under President John Evans Atta Mills and through the Ministry of Education, funding was secured for the project from a Bank in Israel. The construction Agreement was executed in October 2012 and Construction began in 2013 and the 1st Phase of the project was completed and commissioned by President Mahama on 4th January 2017 during which the hospital was formally handed over to the University of Ghana.
In 2015, the University of Ghana signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health in respect of the ownership, management and continued funding requirements of the University of Ghana Hospital and to entrust ownership of the hospital fully to the University of Ghana.
As part of this agreement and in order to insulate the College of Health Sciences from limitations that the University Act imposes on Management, a special purpose vehicle company was to be incorporated with a Board that answers to the University Council. Government under the agreement was required to nominate two members to the UGMS Board to represent Government.
Additionally, a business and investment plan was to serve as a basis for the performance milestones for agreed deliveries to meet revenue, maintenance and accreditation and service delivery benchmarks. The resulting financial model developed also underpins the request for an additional $48million loan requested from Government by the University of Ghana for the purposes of operationalizing the hospital, completing critical works in Phase 2 and kick starting a financial sustainability agenda for the hospital. This loan was expected to be paid back through operations of the hospital within a 15-year period. It is important to note that a cabinet memo was submitted to Government in 2016 and resubmitted to the present administration in 2017.
Furthermore, the key objectives in the Employer’s Requirements of the Commercial EPC Contract captured the prime objective of providing for Ghana’s medical professional training requirements in a sustainable manner and to limit brain-drain and, at the same time, address problems relating to effective replacement of an ageing faculty at the College of Health Sciences. To achieve independence in human resource capacity development, the agreement also covered recognizing the hospital as a quaternary facility and receiving patients referred from the tertiary level and other health care institutions. With that, Ghana would be quite self-sufficient in health care at all levels for any citizen including high-level executives. This will greatly reduce our medical evacuation bills. Added benefits of the facility include attracting international collaborative research, offering opportunity to doctors and other health workers from neighbouring countries to receive specialist training and providing medical tourism for patients.
It is worth pointing out also that all important requests on matters related to this venture had been made by the University of Ghana through the Ministries of Health and Education which also facilitated and sponsored a joint cabinet Memo for Cabinet discussion and approval. This was so because the University of Ghana operates through the Council for Tertiary Education and the Ministry of Education. The Health Ministry was involved primarily because of linkages to this Hospital through the referral chain and in areas of development of the human resource for health for the Ghana Health Service. The fact that this project involves and partners both the Health and Education sectors cannot be overemphasised.
Arrangements by the University of Ghana to operationalize the hospital are far advanced. These started with the determination of staffing norms and a request to the Ministry of Finance for financial clearance to recruit staff. Having received permission to recruit a total of 800 to commence operations, the University embarked on an on-line application process followed by interviews. What is urgently needed from Government now is the approval of the loan for Phase 2 to ensure that a start-up capital is available to operationalize the hospital.
This is why the Minority regards as unfortunate the overt gestures of the Minister of Health to derail well thought out plans by several governments over the years and to claim and wrestle ownership of the Hospital from the University of Ghana. The latter has the mandate to produce quality health professionals for health care delivery and to prosecute research to address national health challenges which ultimately would lead to improved health security for the nation. No government, including the NPP government, should therefore attempt to politicize health. The nation will suffer greatly from that in lack of sustained development programmes to promote quality health and health care.
We of the NDC Minority in Parliament wish to call on the Nana Akufo Addo/Bawumia led Government to desist from undermining this agreement that has resulted in the construction of this magnificent hospital which to all intents and purposes, is poised to function as a teaching and learning Hospital of Excellence in Africa.
In particular we urge the Ministry of Health to stop interfering with and to take its hands off the management and control of the affairs of the Hospital and allow the University of Ghana to take full control as stipulated by the agreement with government on its construction for the good of this nation and the people for whose benefit it was constructed.
In the face of this we have made this statement to inform all Ghanaians of the efforts being made by the NPP government to alter plans to implement fully the medical complex envisaged at the University of Ghana. God bless our homeland Ghana.
HON HARUNA IDDRISU