Friday, August 14, 2020

Ghana: President’s promise to build 94 hospitals in a year ‘mocked’

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Mohammed Awal Mohammed
Awal Mohammed is a Ghanaian journalist who specializes in political reporting in Africa.
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A promise by Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo Addo to build 94 hospitals across the country in a year has been mocked by many of his citizens.

In a televised address on Sunday on the country’s fight against covid-19 President Akufo-Addo promised to build 88 hospitals in a year as part of plans to improve the country’s healthcare.

He said “We will, this year, begin constructing 88 hospitals in the districts without hospitals.

“Each of them will be a quality, standard design 100-bed hospital with accommodation for doctors, nurses and other health workers and the intention is to complete them within a year.”

The president further noted that six more hospitals will be constructed in the capitals of the country’s newly created regions.

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But the announcement has however been received with mockery and sarcasm.

A section of the public questioned the president’s credibility in delivering on his promises when he failed to deliver on the numerous ones he pledged during the country’s electioneering campaign three years earlier.

Not possible?

“Are we in the position to absorb such a massive cost? Particularly from one sector, health? During the pandemic, we were living from hand to mouth and whatever we were collecting by way of tax revenue was essentially just wages and interest payments,” Economist and Professor of Finance at the University of Ghana Business Godfred Alufar Bokpin told Accra based Joy FM.

Bokpin said “Perhaps we may have to do it maybe in phases. Are we going to load all of that onto the public debt stock this year? That is going to be challenging.”

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Ghana’s largest opposition party the NDC described the promise as a sham stating that the president is hiding “Covid-19 update to do general campaign because, he has realised that he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to go to the field to campaign.”

“It is not going to be business as usual before 2016 where they [NPP] could say anything and go scot-free. Now he is the President so people assess him based on what he has done,” Ranking Member of Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwamena Mintah Akandoh told local media in an interview.

Ghanaians on social media

On social media, some Ghanaians also reacted to their president’s promise, casting doubt on his ability to fulfill it.

 

[Photos]: The German air ambulances flying covid-19 patients

 

Government defence

Despite the concerns from critics, government officials have defended the president’s promise saying he is prepared to prioritize the building of the health facilities.

A close ally of the president, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko in a Facebook post said “…Well, there wasn’t Covid-19 when the budget was made. There wasn’t any 50% subsidy for electricity and 100% free water in the budget but that and many more are happening.”

But a former finance minister of Ghana, Ato Forson questioned how the president intends executing his plans since there is no budget for that.

He said the “2020 budget and the appropriation Act allocated only ¢44 million for health infrastructure.”

Ghana has so far recorded over 1,550 cases of coronavirus and the country has lifted a lockdown imposed on some cities.

Meanwhile, Ghana has now made the wearing of face masks compulsory at public places.

All public places including markets, malls, transportation stations, banks, hospitals among others are to prevent people from entering unless they put on a facemask.

 

WHO says ‘No evidence’ recovered Covid-19 patients can’t be reinfected

 

Source: Africafeeds.com

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