Former President John Dramani Mahama has made a clarion call on President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to desist from ‘knee-jerk’ reactions towards addressing problems confronting the nation.
According to the flagbearer of the NDC, had government thought through its plans and policies very well, in terms of health, the country would have been better placed to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
This follows an announcement by President Akufo that he’s committed to constructing 88 districts and six regional hospitals to boost the country’s response towards addressing the challenges associated with the viral outbreak.
In a televised address on Sunday, April 26, 2020, the President said the move is to help build a robust healthcare system and significantly close the gap in access to healthcare delivery in the country since the development of such facilities has for a very long time been skewed towards Accra and two other big cities.
“But, as we have seen, epidemics and pandemics, when they emerge, can spread to any part of our country,” he said.
“There are eighty-eight (88) districts in our country without district hospitals; we have six (6) new regions without regional hospitals; we do not have 5 infectious disease control centres dotted across the country, and we do not have enough testing and isolation centres for diseases like COVD-19. We must do something urgently about this.”
“That is why Government has decided to undertake a major investment in our healthcare infrastructure, the largest in our history. We will, this year, begin constructing eighty-eight (88) hospitals in the districts without hospitals,” the President stated.
Giving a breakdown of how the facilities will be distributed, he indicated that “ten (10) in Ashanti, nine (9) in Volta, nine (9) in Central, eight (8) in Eastern, seven (7) in Greater Accra, seven (7) in Upper East, five (5) in Northern, five (5) in Oti, five (5) in Upper West, five (5) in Bono, four (4) in Western North, four (4) in Western, three (3) in Ahafo, three (3) in Savannah, two (2) in Bono East, and two (2) in North East Regions.”
President Akufo-Addo added that “we have also put in place plans for the construction of six (6) new regional hospitals in the six (6) new regions, and the rehabilitation of the EffiaNkwanta Hospital, in Sekondi, which is the regional hospital of the Western Region.”
But many have criticised that decision, questioning why new facilities will be constructed at the expense of almost completed ones by the erstwhile Mahama government.
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, however, dismissed claims that any health facilities have been abandoned.
In an address to the country on April 30, 2020, the former President admonished the Akufo-Addo led government to focus on a plan that is credible “and clearly thought-through.”
“What we should avoid is knee-jerk promises that appear reactive rather than a product of critical thinking and well-coordinated response to existing or emerging problems,” he said
He further added that “considering the rather tall list of his [Akufo-Addo] unfulfilled or poorly implemented promises from yesteryears, I believe in a well-thought-out and forward-looking agenda which ensures further strategic investment in our health sector to meet contemporary and future challenges.”