W/R: Nzema East health workers threaten to shut down directorate

Workers at the Nzema East Municipal Health Directorate of the Western Region have threatened that they may be forced to close down the directorate in the coming days if they do not get a befitting place to work from.

The health directorate has been operating under trees for the past two months due to the lack of a congenial place for them to work in.

The National Disaster Management Organization, NADMO, after an assessment of the structure housing the directorate, asked that they relocate since the place has become a death trap.

The Nzema East Municipal Health Directorate has been operating from their current location for decades without any renovation.

From afar, all looks well. But the story is heart-wrenching when you enter the structure.

Almost all the walls and ceiling of each office is riddled with deep cracks.

From one office to the other, the cracks deepen.

The office of the Municipal Health Director has equally not been spared.

There have been attempts to give the office a face-lift but the cracks keep widening.

Other offices including that of the Nutrition and Health Promotions are equally in a bad shape.

The ceiling of these two offices are characterized with life-threatening cracks, making them uninhabitable.

“I started bringing the attention of the necessary authorities since 2017. I wrote through the regional health director to the national office of the Ghana Health Service. I also personally handed a letter to the former Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service. I, again, sent a letter to the MP for area, Catherine Afeku, who was able to get the Estate Department to move from Accra here for an assessment and it ended there. This was in 2018,” a frustrated Municipal Health Director, Priscilla Ama Amoah, told 3news.com.

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Left with no option, the officers have been moved under trees few meters away from the main block.

But that also presents a different challenge.

The Municipal Health Director and two other heads of departments are lucky to have furniture to work with.

For those who are not fortunate, they have to work from car bonnets and boots.

And for the past two months, they have had to work, standing on their feet from morning to evening.

“… but we will do it to a point when we are tired, we will stop and will send signal that we cannot continue with the work. If it starts raining now, we will not have any place to stay so we will just have to close and go home. You can see that for example, I have to be going through these bulk reports for planning and I have to do that on my laps. What I am doing is to help plan for our health interventions, the amount of medicine we will need, how many outreach programmes we have to embark on, where and when. So if I have to do that on my laps, then you can imagine what this means to health care delivery in Nzema East,” Municipal Public Health Officer Joseph Fiagbe narrated.

The directorate is currently compiling its monthly report and it has not been easy for the various heads of departments.

For those who have to compile data using their laptops have up to when their battery runs out and the day’s work is over; and this takes two hours.

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“Let’s take today for example, we are compiling reports from CHPS Compound, Clinics and the main municipal hospital. And we have to do that under trees with the wind blowing and scattering our papers intermittently, the sun is also high and you have to break because you cannot continue to look at the papers because they are white and the reflection burns our eyes. Again, you cannot bring all the reports here so you have to be moving in and out of the main building which is a death trap. As I speak, the battery of the laptop we are using for the compilation has run down so we have to send it somewhere, charge it before we can resume work. And, so we are not able to do the amount of work we could have done if we were in an office,” Municipal Mental Health Officer Priscilla Arthur complained.

The Municipal Health Director, Priscilla Ama Amoah, says they are frustrated.

Together with her workers, their patience is running thin and have resolved to stop working after they are done compiling their monthly report.

“I am really frustrated because you come to work and you feel threatened that the building could collapse on you. And the defects are not only in my office but all over. We don’t want to wait for a disaster to happen for someone to tell us why we did not vacate the office. Currently, we are compiling our monthly report. Once we are done, we may be forced to stop work entirely,” she warned.

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Municipal Chief Executive for Nzema East Frank Okpenyen, in an interview with 3news.com, admitted the assembly is aware that the building hosting the municipal health directorate is in a deplorable state.

“In fact, it was I who constituted the technical team that recommended that they relocate. We have since been working assiduously to get them a place. As I speak, we are working hard to convert a place at the assembly’s complex into an office for them. While at that, we are also looking at the necessary procurements to enable us do a full renovation of the building.”

According to him, he is not aware that the directorate has been operating under trees, insisting “it looks a bit surprising to me and so I will investigate to find out whether they did not just move under the trees when they heard that the media was visiting”.

By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Western Region|Ghana