National Democratic Congress [NDC], Member of Parliament North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has explained that the solar-powered medical centre at the Volo Digital Village completed in 2015, is not operational due to lack of staff to man the facility.
According to him, prospective the staff was turning down offers to work at the facility, citing the lack of staff accommodation as one of the reasons.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Monday as the facility deteriorates, Mr. Ablakwa, in whose constituency the over Ghc800,000 facility is located, said it had been difficult attracting dedicated medical staff to man the facility.
He said the situation was mainly due to the unavailability of decent accommodation for the prospective health personnel who will be serving the facility.
“According to the Health Service Directorate in the Volta Region, even if we had one doctor for a start and a couple of nurses it will help. But the challenge has been that, they have found it very difficult attracting any interested staff, and because of the accommodation challenges… it does not make it attractive,” he said.
‘GHS500,000 needed for accommodation’
Mr. Ablakwa said about Ghc500,000 is required to construct a decent accommodation facility for the prospective health professionals who may accept to work at the facility.
“The last estimate we did, if we had about Ghc400,000 to Ghc500,000, we can provide a decent accommodation for staff to be recruited and we have reached out to a number of organizations who we are hoping will be able to support us to put up medical accommodation for the staff,” he said.
While admitting that sourcing for funds and the construction of accommodation may take a while, the MP said he had committed to ensuring that he personally funds occasional medical outreaches by the center by volunteers.
He said, “what we have decided to do as the best way forward is to carry out medical outreaches, so that at least we can use the facilities on a weekend program; Saturdays and Sundays, where volunteer doctors will take time off and I have committed to funding the outreach program.”
According to a report by the Daily Guide Newspaper, health workers and residents were also not in support of the location of the facility, which they say is isolated from many community members.
About the Volo digital village
The $860,000 digital village project comprises a solar-powered library and a health facility. It was funded by Samsung, UNESCO and the government of Ghana.
Located at Volo, a fishing community in the North Tongu district of the Volta Region, its construction was aimed at providing the essential educational and health needs of about 5,000 people in that community and surrounding communities.
Construction work began in 2014, and work was completed and handed over to the government in May 2015.
Citi FM has put the spotlight on several health facilities that have either been fully or partially completed, but are not fully functional.
A typical examples is the $217 million University of Ghana Medical Centre, the first phase of which has been completed, but the facility is not in use due a tussle between the school and the Health Ministry over who should manage it.