597-bed UG Medical Centre lies idle one year after inauguration

Tracking commitments in Health

One year after the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) at Legon was inaugurated, iWatch Africa can confirm that the multi-million dollar facility is yet to become operational.

This is because the Ministry of Health (MoH) is carrying out due diligence on the facility and how it will be managed. There was no activity when the iWatch Africa visited the site last month.

The 597-bed capacity, which was started in 2012 at a cost of $217 million, was inaugurated by former President John Dramani Mahama in 2016.

As part of measures to open the facility to the public, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, last week met with members of the interim management board of the centre to bring him up to speed on the status of the facility and how best to move to ensure a smooth take-off.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the MoH, Mr Robert Cudjoe, also dismissed speculations that there was a tussle between the ministry and the university authorities as to who should be responsible for the management of the centre.

Apart from ensuring that the right things were done before the centre became operational, he said, the ministry was taking a second look at the human resource required to manage some of the sophisticated facilities.

According to him, the MoH inherited a lot of health projects, including 300 community-based health planning and services (CHPS) compounds and seven district hospitals which were at various stages of completion.

Background:

The University of Ghana Medical Centre is one of the major infrastructural projects under former President John Mahama’s administration. The project which is located on a 400-acre land behind the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical research is estimated to cost $217 million.

Construction of the facility started on March 12, 2011 and phase one was commissioned by Ex- President John Mahama. Phase 2 of the project is expected to add 350 beds to the already 650 beds to take the total number of beds to 1000.

The current President, Akufo-Addo has pledged to complete the second phase of the project.

A mid/third quarter review by iWatch Africa revealed that out of the 8 blocks, 7 have been completed except block 4 and the morgue, which are yet to be completed. Minor construction works in the form of holes for drainage are currently ongoing. Major landscaping is also being undertaken to make the facility more beautiful. The site for the construction of block 4 has been turned into a temporary car park while contractors await approval for funds for its construction.

The medical center is an ultra-modern facility for service delivery, training and research. It will be equipped with state of the art facilities for trauma, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, cardiology, heart surgery, and emergency services with a heliport.

Read Also: Work on phase two of the UG Medical Center yet to commence

The medical center is expected to focus on academic training of pre-service and practicing health professionals, research and clinical services at a quaternary level. It will house all health institutions of the University of Ghana currently located at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

Credit: Gideon Sarpong | Policy and Content Analyst | iWatch Africa

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data and investigative journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. Gideon is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development in Africa. He is also an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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