COVID-19: Health sector set to see massive infrastructural investment

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  • Ghana Centre for Disease Control to be established
  • 88 district, 6 new regional hospitals
  • existing ones to see upgrades
  • local pharma industry to be boosted

The country’s health sector is set to see major infrastructure developments including the establishment of 88 districts and six new regional hospitals, the creation of a Centre for Disease Control, the building of infectious diseases centres and local pharmaceutical players equipped to produce at least 80 percent of Ghana’s medicines and medical supplies.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his 8th address to the nation on Ghana’s actions to combat the growing COVID-19 pandemic, he conceded that the country has over the years, not invested enough in the health sector, the effects of which the Coronavirus pandemic has exposed.

“Just as the virus has disrupted our daily lives, it has also exposed the deficiencies of our healthcare system because of years of under-investment and neglect. It has highlighted the need to address mental health issues and the crucial role of emergency service.

The virus has also revealed the unequal distribution of health facilities as we have tended to focus our infrastructure on Accra, and one or two of our other big cities, but as we have seen, epidemics and pandemics when they emerge, can spread to any part of the country.”

The President, in his address, further emphasized that the improvement in the health sector also warrants the need to pay particular attention to mental health issues, and certain chronic diseases that have been the underlining factors for most of the deaths in the country has recorded from the Coronavirus.

“Whiles maternal, newborn, adolescent health and nutrition remain our top priorities, we must pay increased attention to chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, and asthma which have proved to be the common risk factors for the 11 deaths we have recorded from the virus.”

Breakdown of new facilities

The construction of these new facilities, expected to be completed within 12 months, according to the President, will be spread across the country. Against this backdrop, he said 10 will be built in the Ashanti Region, nine each in the Volta and Central regions, eight in the Eastern Region while seven would also be constructed in the Greater Accra Region.

The rest include seven in Upper East Region, five in Northern Region, five each in Oti, Upper West, and Bono regions while four each will also be constructed in Western and Western North Regions. Meanwhile, three will each be also constructed in Ahafo and Savannah Regions with two each for Bono East and North East Regions.

The President said: “Each of them will be a quality, a standard designed 100-bed hospital with accommodation for doctors, nurses, and other health workers.”

The six newly created regions, according to the President, will be the ones to benefit from the listed 6 new regional health facilities while the Effia Nkwanta Hospital, in Sekondi, is earmarked to undergo a facelift. While the government intends to beef up the existing laboratories, in the country, it was revealed that some new ones will also be established in every region for testing.

Also, some three infectious disease control centres will also be established in the Coastal, Middle Belt, and Northern zones, with the overall objective of setting up a Ghana Centre for Disease Control. “The recent, tragic CSM outbreak, with over 40 deaths, has reaffirmed the need for ready access to such infectious disease control centres, even though, in our time, nobody should die of the disease.”

According to the President, the three Development Authorities, the Zongo Development Fund, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies will be tasked to place health infrastructure amongst their highest priorities in the coming years.

He, however, stated that the exact volume of investment required will be duly and transparently will be made public, when ready, for public scrutiny and action.

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