The uncompleted Maternity and Children’s Block of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in Kumasi, which began some 44 years ago, is set to be demolished to make way for a new one.
According to sources at the hospital, the structure is already being pulled down due to some structural issues. A structural integrity report done on the building showed that it was in a poor state – leading to a decision to pull down the existing structure.
It is understood that it will be cheaper to build a new facility than to maintain the current one which has existed for over four decades, the source who wants to remain anonymous disclosed.
The development has also been confirmed by the Ashanti Regional Minister-designate, Simon Osei Mensah, during a radio interview earlier in Kumasi.
He acknowledged that based on the structural integrity test conducted on the existing structure, it was detected that the building may not be able to stand the weight of equipment and other machinery which may be installed upon completion. In view of this, a stakeholder consultation, he said, will have to be done before proceeding to totally demolish the structure.
It will be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for completion of the final work on the project in May 2020 at a cost of €155 million, being financed by the Deutsche Bank of Germany.
The project is being undertaken by the Brazilian construction firm, Contracta Engineering Limited, and is expected to be carried out within 36 months. However, it is unknown if the project timelines will be affected by the latest development.
The state-of-the-art facility that is being worked on is expected to comprise paediatrics, gynaecology and obstetrics units, and according to the president will serve as a referral centre for 12 of the country’s 16 regions.
The 750-bed capacity building with outpatient areas for adults and children was also to contain 10 operating theatres and diagnostic rooms – fully equipped with X-ray, ultrasound, and mammography facilities. Also, it will have an intensive care unit, a high dependency unit, isolation rooms and student lecture halls, with the capacity to provide catering services for staff, patients and students.
Government is said to have made a comprehensive assessment of the project, which had stalled for over four decades, in order to ensure that the necessary funds were secured to complete the facility.
These efforts led to the approval by Parliament, in 2019, of a €155million loan to finish and equip the Maternity and Children’s Block of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
The current situation has raised concerns among some stakeholders which had been involved in efforts to continue the project during the time of the previous administration.
Requests for further information on the development to the Ministry of Health (MoH), which is responsible for the project, were not yet returned at the time of going to press.
Brief history of the project
Construction of the Maternity and Children’s Block project began in 1976 as part of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Expansion Project, but came to a standstill in 1979. It was reactivated in 1999 under the administration of the first president of the 4th Republic, Jerry John Rawlings, but again stalled shortly afterward.
In 2004, the administration of the second president of the 4th Republic, John Agyekum Kufuor, took it up; but soon after his departure from office in January 2009, work on this project was discontinued until the assumption of office of another NPP administration – the Akufo-Addo government in 2017.