Hon . Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, Member of Parliament (MP) for Garu in the Upper East Region has expressed unhappy with the delay of construction works on Garu District hospital project in his constituency.
The District Hospital project was one of the six district hospitals started by the John Mahama government to eliminate disparities in healthcare delivery in the country.
In August 2013 the then Minister for Health, Madam Sherry Ayitey cut sod for construction work to begin on the hospitals under the 175 million-dollar turnkey project at Dodowa, Kumawu, Sekondi, Abetifi, Garu Tempane and Fomena.
So far, only the Dodowa District Hospital has been completed under the agreement signed between the Ministry of Health Ghana and NMS Infrastructure Limited from the United Kingdom.
Construction work on the hospital project has been abandoned after clearing the site for commencement of construction works, as the constructor has left site and there was no indication when work would resume.
Recently, it was reported in the media that some residents have started stealing some of the building materials for the project on site.
The situation has pushed MP for the area, Mr Alalzuuga to summoned Minister for health to parliament to explain the reasons for the delay of the project.
“Mr Speaker I rise to ask the Minister for Health when the Garu-Tempane District Hospital Project will be completed?”, he asked.
According to the MP, the District Hospital project remained dear to the hearts of the constituents as it would help reduce cost of accessing healthcare in the constituency when completed.
However, responding to the question on the floor of parliament, a Deputy Minister for Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu said the Garu- Tempane District is part of the seven District Hospitals programme being undertaken by the Mssrs NMSI Company Limited of the United Kingdom under turnkey arrangement.
According to the Deputy Minister, the project has stalled due to the expiration of the letter of credit backing the loan, but noted that, “the Ministry of Finance is currently in discussions with the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) and the contractors on strategies to extend the credit facility.”
” Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health is currently awaiting an approval for the extension of the loan from the Ministry of Finance based on which the commercial contract will be reactivated,” Aboagye Gyedu stated.
He explained that works on the project would resume as soon as the Ministry received funds from the Ministry of Finance.
The others six District Hospital under the project, the Deputy Minister said includes Fomena, Abetifi, Kumawu, Takoradi, Sekondi, which are under construction and Dodowa District Hospital, the only hospital completed under the project.
Speaking to THE REPUBLIC after asking a question to the Minister on the floor of parliament yesterday, Hon.Alalzuuga expressed worry about the stalled project, adding that, its timely completion would bring relief to residents.
He said health conditions in the constituency is bad such that residents who sought healthcare services at the private hospitals have had to pay huge sums of money for drugs or medicine which could have been free or less cost at the public hospitals.
Sources: www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba