The Ghana Medical Association says it is in full support of a decision by President Nana Akufo-Addo, to construct new hospitals in all districts and regions that lack health facilities.
This follows an announcement by government that plans have been put in place to ensure that some 88 districts in the country and the six newly created regions all get health facilities within a year.
“Eighty-eight districts without hospitals is not something that we shouldn’t be worried about. So while we try to fix the ongoing ones we should also begin to think about them.
“Imagine these 88 districts experience an outbreak of any kind of infectious disease and they don’t have any place to manage them, how are we going to move on?”, General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Justice Yankson said.
In addition to the new facilities, President Akufo-Addo said, government will also beef up existing laboratories and establish new ones across every region for testing.
He also indicated that three infectious disease control centres for each of the zones of our country, i.e. Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern, with the overall objective of setting up a Ghana Centre for Disease Control, will also be established.
But the announcement received mass rejection and backlash from Ghanaians who insist that, money budgeted for the project should be spent on completing abandoned health facilities started by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
While the Minority in Parliament is arguing that it will be impossible for government to accomplish such an ambitious project since Ghana has outstretched its budget for 2020 and beyond due to the pandemic, flagbearer of the opposition NDC, John Dramani Mahama has asked President Akufo-Addo to refrain from what he described as knee-jerk promises in his approach towards finding solutions to the country’s problems.
But the Ghana Medical Association says the promises by the President are a step in the right direction.
According to Dr Yankson, it is only fair that work on new hospitals in every district begins while government sees to the completion of old or abandoned ones.
“As the Ghana Medical Association has always said, these health facilities that have been left should be completed for the common good of Ghanaians.
“And it is clear that some activities are happening when it comes to completing old projects, maybe the issue is with the speed at which this is being done.
“But 88 districts without hospitals is a huge number compared to the number of facilities that are yet to be completed.
“So we cannot ignore them especially in a country that has a policy that every district must have a hospital. The issue of an infectious disease centre is one that as a country, we have paid lip service to for a long time, so if at this point, Covid-19 has exposed a lot of inadequacies in our health system and the state through the President has taken a decision to construct these infectious disease centres, for us; (then) as the Ghana Medical Association, we endorse it.
“We have always called for this,” Dr Yankson said