The University of Ghana Medical Centre(UGMC) will officially open today [Wednesday] after a long wait and intense pressure on the government.The facility had been abandoned for several months by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government after it assumed office in January 2017 with the excuse that there were some technical challenges.
The government in an earlier communication announced the operationalization of the facility following huge public outrage and consistent media campaign championed by Citi FMover the facility’s abandonment.
When Citi News visited the hospital site on Tuesday, preparations were on-going to make it ready for today’s inaugural ceremony.
The centre is expected to begin with theoperationalization of phase one, with about 30 medical staff.
This stage will allow the facility to receive referral patients at the Out Patient Department OPD from other satellite health facilities.
The facility was scheduled to open in November 2017, but was kept locked to the public due to a tussle between the Minister of Health and the University of Ghana over who manages the $217 million facility.
The University believes processes leading to the construction of the facility give it a direct oversight role of the Medical Centre.
Back in January, a Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the University of Ghana and the Ministry of Health had ended the tussle.
“That standoff [between the University of Ghana and the Ministry of Health], as I speak to you, is being resolved. Between the University and the Health Ministry, they have agreed on a new management approach,” he said at the time.But there was little progress made between then and July, leading to sustained pressure on the government from Citi FM and some civil society organizations to operationalize the centre.
Ghanaians also signed an online petition as part of a social media campaign to push the government to operationalise the 597-bed capacity medical centre.
A pharmacy student of the University of Ghana, Reginald Sekyi-Brown, also notably started an #OpenUGMCNow hashtag in protest.The government subsequently set up the interim board to operationalise the facility.
The Board, chaired by Dr. Anarfi Asamoah-Baah, was to liaise with the turnkey contractor, to test run the equipment and operationalise the facility.
Cabinet has already approved $50 million for the second phase of the centre.
Part of the $50 million is expected to be used to procure drugs and non-drug consumables, as well as secure reliable power supply for the hospital.