…As Refurbished Ridge Hospital opens to the public
Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health, yesterday paid glowing tributes to former President Jerry John Rawlings and his successors of the National Democratic Congress (NDC)for their vision to bring healthcare services closer to the citizens.
At a short ceremony to open the newly refurbished Ridge Hospital, also referred to as the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, to the public, the minister said, the facility could not have been without the foresight of the NDC founder and his two successors, John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory and John Dramani Mahama, the immediate past President of Ghana.
“This journey of modernizing the Ridge Hospital started with construction of the main OPD block in 2000 by President J.J Rawlings. Though this was a major achievement, population growth and modern healthcare requirements called for a significant upgrade to meet the needs of the present time.”
“It is in the light of this that the former government of President Mills and Mahama initiated and actually saw to the construction of the first phase of the Ridge Hospital which we are operationalising today. The nation is indeed grateful for their efforts,” he lauded the former leaders, to commemorate the opening and formal operationalization of the first phase of the 420-bed facility, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.
Even though former President John Mahama commissioned the hospital sometime last year, he did not open its doors to public use until yesterday.
The Minister of Health however hinted that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government would also soon secure funding to commence the second phase of the project.
He said, although government is restrained by resources, it would do all it can to secure the resources to commence the second phase of the project, as the health of Ghanaians is a priority.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu charged the management of the facility to ensure good maintenance to achievement the purpose and value for money.
The Director General of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, said the facility will minimize the frustrations that both staff and patients have had to go brought as a result of the challenges that used to bedevil the hospital.
The second phase is expected to add 200 more beds to the 620-bed capacity hospital, financed by government with support from the Exim and HSBC Banks at an estimated value of $250 million.
The construction of the hospital is in two phases; Ex- president John Mahama commissioned the first phase in November 2016 and the second phase is expected to be completed by next year, 2018.
Apart from its world-class medical facilities, the Ridge Hospital, now known as the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, also has delivery suites, maternity wards, intensive care units and other modern facilities.
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Porter Jackson, said, the facility would help to improve quality and expand access to healthcare delivery, particularly in its catchment area, with facilities, which, he said, makes it one of the best health institutions in Africa.
Among the components of the project are an Imaging Department, a Delivery Unit, an Accident and Emergency Unit, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), an Emergency ICU and a Burns Unit.
It also has accommodation for 42 staff members, a School of Anaesthesia, a 100-body capacity mortuary and an oxygen generation plant.
Originally constructed in 1928 by the British colonial administration, the Ridge Hospital, as the facility is popularly known, was designated the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in 1977.
The facility has gone through many challenges, including operating with obsolete equipment and inadequate accommodation.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by a large number of people, including the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey; Deputy Minister of Health, Madam Tina Mensah; French Ambassador, Francois Pujolas, and chiefs from the Osu and La traditional areas.
The cost of the hospital construction dominated headlines in the run-up to the 2016 elections, when the then opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, now President of Ghana, attacked the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of inflating the cost of the project.
Candidate Akufo-Addo, in his ‘Real State of the Nation’ address delivered in February, 2015, accused former President Mahama of inflating the cost of the project by $142 million.
The then government, as well as Crown Agents Ghana Limited, the company contracted to conduct the value-for-money assessment, challenged his accusation.
They said the total contract price for the project was rather reduced by $142 million.
Apart from its world-class medical equipment, the hospital also boasts of delivery suites, maternity wards, intensive care units and other modern facilities.