Gov’t to immediately test run equipment at UGMC for operationalisation

Government will with immediate effect conduct a test run of all medical equipment at the controversial University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) as it completes work for the facility to be operationalised. A statement issued by the Information Ministry Thursday said an interim board has been set up by government to liaise with the Turnkey Contractor to test run the equipment and subsequently operationalise the facility. “As a first step, the interim board (chaired by Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah) between now and July 2018 will complete the staffing processes and ensure the provision of final logistics required for a smooth take-off,” the statement said. The 597-bed capacity hospital inaugurated by former President John Dramani Mahama in November 2016 has remained closed for various reasons. Attempts to operationalise the facility in 2017 suffered a jolt following an impasse between the University and the Ministry of Health over the rightful owner and manager of the facility. Though that issue has since January this year been resolved, the facility remained closed due to what the current government described as technical issues. Since then, reasons for the delay in opening the facility which is being rotten away have been changing by the day. Concerned Ghanaians have criticised the Akufo-Addo government for its seeming lack of commitment in ensuring the facility is operationalised to serve its purpose. But the government in its Thursday statement said it shares in the public sentiment to operationalise the facility, it is critical that the processes it has outlined are completed to provide the best care for patients who may be accessing healthcare from the facility. “Government wishes to state its commitment to providing quality healthcare to the people of Ghana,” it stated. Meanwhile, it said government has second funds to complete the phase two of the project to enable the facility to function optimally. Last week, a final year pharmacy student of the University, Reginald Sakyi-Brown, started an online campaign to get people to sign a petition demanding the opening of the facility. [caption id="attachment_86658" align="aligncenter" width="643"] Protester Reginald Sekyi-Brown was stopped by security officers from showing the placard to the First lady[/caption] He was arrested on Wednesday morning for raising a placard “#OpenUGMCNow” during an event by the First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. READ: Presidential staffer justifies arrest of protester at First Lady event He has since been granted bail but his arrest reinforced demands for the facility to be opened.

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