The Ranking Member for the Health Committee of Parliament Kwabena Mintah Akandoh has questioned the commitment of government in converting the Bono Regional Hospital in Sunyani into a Teaching Hospital.

Minister for Health Kwaku Agyeman Manu cut sod for the upgrade of the facility on Saturday November 18, 2023. The Juaboso MP has however described the sod cutting as a political gimmick to deceive residents and the country at large ahead of the 2024 elections.

In a statement Mr. Akandoh, pointed out the project did not find expression in 2024 budget presented by finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta.

“There is no known government policy, financial allocation and the political will to undertake such an expansion of the facility into a teaching facility, and the minister knows there is no allocation in the 2024 budget,” he stated.

Mr. Akandoh consequently sod argued the sod cutting is one of the antics of the Nana Addo Bawumia administration to
deceive the people of Bono.

“The supposed sod cutting amid an IMF programme and the proximity to an election year is suspicious –
especially when the project was not captured in the budget.”

The ranking member reminded Ghanaians of the government’s failure to fund similar projects promised over the years after demolishing the well-functioning La General Hospital and an Accident and Emergency Centre at the Dormaa Hospital.

The La General Hospital Construction for instance he argued found expression on paragraph 1034 of the 2020 and paragraph 996 of the 2021 budgets yet the project is yet to see the light of day. Government has allocated only
GHC 150 million out of €50 million (approx. GHC 650 million) total cost of the La General Hospital in the 2024 budget despite a promise to complete the project within 18 months.

In the 2021 budget the government then committed to finish the construction of the Accident and Emergency Centre at Dormaa hospital. The project Akandoh argues is also yet to be completed.

Below is the full statement from the minority spokesperson on health Kwabena Mintah Akandoh:

Accra, [19/11/2023

The Minority in Parliament is compelled to address a matter of grave concern regarding the purported sod-cutting to start the conversion of the Bono Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital, as orchestrated by the Minister responsible for Health on the 18th of October at the Bono Regional Hospital.

Contrary to the grandstanding by the Minister, a thorough examination of the 2024 budget statement reveals an alarming absence of any government policy, political will, or financial allocation aimed at transforming the Bono Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital or establishing a medical school at the University of Energy and Natural Resources in the next fiscal year or the medium term.

It is disheartening that the Minister, fully aware of the absence of any provision in the 2024 budget, recently orchestrated a sod-cutting event at the Bono Regional Hospital in Sunyani to signify the initiation of processes for the conversion of the Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital. This can only be described as a flagrant display of dishonesty, misleading the public with a project that lacks the necessary budgetary backing.

The Minister’s initial announcement on the 24th of July 2023, during a meeting with stakeholders of the Sunyani Hospital, claimed that Cabinet, at its 45th Meeting, had approved a Memorandum of Understanding for the transformation of the Bono Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital. At the same meeting, the Minister emphasized that this transformation would necessitate the establishment of a medical school at the University of Energy and Natural Resources.

While the timing of this announcement was already suspicious, given the government’s desperate bid for an IMF program, coupled with the proximity to an election year known for unfulfilled promises, it was expected that such a monumental announcement would be substantiated in the budget. Regrettably, this expectation remains unmet.

The parallels with a prior promise to upgrade the La General Hospital are uncanny. Despite securing funds through a loan, the La General Hospital project, originally budgeted and promised in the 2020 budget, is now 49 months overdue, with construction yet to commence. The 2024 budget projections now aim to initiate construction in 2024, pushing completion beyond 2027.

In the seventh year of governance, it is customary for a government to showcase completed projects. However, the Akufo-Addo administration seems to be deviating from this norm by continuously piling on unfulfilled promises.

A government that failed miserably to fund projects promised in 2020, including the construction of the La General Hospital, Tema Regional Hospital, and an Accident and Emergency Centre at Dormaa Hospital, should be met with scepticism when making lofty promises, especially one as significant as delivering a Teaching Hospital.

As the Minority in Parliament, we assert that credibility and trust form the bedrock of a democratic mandate, and governments must treat the trust bestowed upon them as sacred. Our quest to build a better health system for our people must be guided by truth and transparency.
Thank you.

(Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and MP for Juaboso Constituency)

Source: Ghana/