Claim: “The NDC built all the regional hospitals in our country,” Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, National Chairman, NDC.
It is not true that NDC built all of the ten regional hospitals in Ghana. The party can only claim credit for three Regional hospitals and not 10.
Governance is said to be a continuum so it is entirely possible for one government to begin a project and another to complete it; in this case both governments can claim some amount of credit. So, to put Mr. Ampofo’s claim into the right context, DUBAWA decided to investigate when each of the Regional hospitals were started and completed and to find out if it was under one government.
Note that “built,” as used in Ampofo’s claim, is defined in this context as “started and completed.” And by “NDC,” this analysis assumes NDC under Rawlings, NDC under Mills, and NDC under Mahama, since the chairman did not include the AFRC and PNDC regimes.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is one of two major political parties alternating the reins of government in Ghana’s fourth republic. The party was established on June 10, 1992. Thus, Friday, June 10, 2022 was its 30th anniversary. To commemorate this anniversary, an event was organised in Accra, during which occasion the party took the moment to trumpet its “achievements” for the periods it has been in power. Its chairman, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, was one of the speakers. In addressing the supporters of the party, he said;
“We have brought unprecedented development to this country. We have performed better in office than our opponents, who have used propaganda to throw dust in the eyes of Ghanaians. The NDC built all the regional hospitals in our country.”
He has since been quoted by many media outlets, both broadcast and print, including major online news portals such as citinewsroom, myjoyonline.com, and gna.org.gh.
Indeed, there are ten regional hospitals, one each in the old ten administrative regions in the country. To verify the claim and ensure the citizenry consume truthful information for a well-informed decision, Dubawa Ghana combed through news contents published on the website of each of the regional hospitals as well as on various online news websites. Below are the details:
- The Tamale Hospital, Tamale
Located on the main Tamale-Salaga Road in the eastern part of the Tamale Metropolis, the Tamale Hospital was established in 1974 by General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, the then-military head of state of Ghana. When it was established, and operating from the Old Central Hospital premises, the Tamale hospital became the first regional hospital, serving as the main medical referral centre for the Northern sector of the country. According to a January 17, 2014 report published on graphiconline.com, the hospital did not see any major rehabilitation since it was put up in 1974 until, according to information on the hospital’s website, in 2009 when the Mills-administration expanded and upgraded the hospital to its present status of teaching hospital, to serve as a tertiary health provider in the Savanna Region, including the Northern parts of the Volta Region and some parts of the then-Bono Ahafo Region. Again then-president Mahama saw to further expansion of the hospital, upgrading the hospital’s structures and equipment. to have existing structures upgraded and providing new pieces of equipment. He is reported by graphiconline.com to have, on January 16, 2014, inaugurated phase one of a Tamale Teaching Hospital expansion project and cut the sod for its phase two.
Thus, it is not true that NDC built the Tamale (Teaching) Hospital, as the government of John Mills only upgraded it to the status of teaching hospital while the administration of John Mahama further expanded it.
- Eastern Regional Hospital, Koforidua
According to information on its website, The Eastern Regional Hospital has been in existence since 1926, almost a century ago, as a secondary level referral facility for the entire Eastern Region and as a municipal hospital for the New Juaben Municipal. Only two major structural additions were made to the hospital in 1972 by Ignatius Kutu Acheampong’s National Redemption Council regime and in 1988 by Jerry John Rawlings’ Provisional National Defence Council regime. Since then, no major additional structures or rehabilitation took place until Wednesday, 22 July 2020 when the present administration cut sod for the construction of a 600-bed Eastern Regional Hospital to reduce stress on the old 429-bed-Juaben District Hospital-turned Eastern Regional Hospital. Thus, neither did NDC build the Eastern Regional Hospital nor even upgrade or expanded it.
- Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Cape Coast
The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital is situated at the Northern part of Cape Coast, bounded on the north by Abura Township, on the south by Pedu Estate, on the east by Nkanfua, and on the west by Abura. The hospital was built by John Rawlings, and it started full operations first as Central Regional Hospital on August 12, 1998, as the first of a series of three ultramodern regional hospitals. The other two are the now-Ho Teaching Hospital and the Sunyani Regional Hospital.
Thus, it is completely true that the Central Regional Hospital, now Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, was established by NDC, as it was started and completed by the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress government.
- Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, Secondi
The Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital was first established as a military hospital by the Gold Coast colonial government in 1938. Since its establishment, unlike the other regional hospitals, which have seen at least some infrastructural development and expansion, the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital has not been that lucky since its inception. Though its unique landscape is touted to ultimately enhance healing, it also makes it impossible for any expansion. So none of the three NDC governments could have built or expanded the hospital even if the government had intended to. Neither did any of them actually build a new hospital. In fact, as late as September 2016, less than four months of the last NDC government led by John Mahama before handing over the helm of affairs, the people and traditional leaders in the Western Region as well as doctors and other workers at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital were “up in arms” for a new regional hospital. According to the protesters, the old facility had been outdone by its clientele and patients and their enhanced demands, according to the graphiconline.com report of September 10, 2016. That was the last time NDC was in power, and it handed over only four months later.
- Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Accra
Located in the heart of Accra city, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital started as a hospital for the European expatriates in the 1920’s. It then became a district hospital after Ghana’s independence in 1957. The hospital was, however, redesigned by Rawlings’ NDC government in 1997, renovated and expanded by Mahama’s NDC government in 2016. Therefore, the assertion that the NDC built a new Greater Accra Regional Hospital is not accurate.
- The Sunyani Regional Hospital
There was an old regional hospital built in 1929 but that became too small and unfit for purpose as a regional hospital. In 1996, therefore, the Rawlings-led NDC started what is now the new Sunyani Regional Hospital project and completed it in the year 2000. But the hospital actually commenced clinical work in August 2003 and was later commissioned on Friday, 6 November 2009 by then-vice president Mahama, as reported by modernghana.com and ghanaweb.com. The Sunyani hospital was the last project in a series of three regional hospitals built under the Rawlings regime. It was set up to replace the then-76-year-old Sunyani Municipal Hospital, which also served as the regional hospital at the time.
- Bolgatanga Regional Hospital
The 206-bed Bolgatanga Regional Hospital serves as the major referral centre and for emergencies of all kinds of health related incidents. The facility started off in 1902 as a Health Centre, providing orthodox medication to the minority white population in the colony. The current site of the regional hospital, however, started in 1946 when the facility was upgraded to continue with improved service to the whites as well as some Gold Coast’s British workers and very few indigenes.
However, there has been a massive expansion to the facility spanning across governments. The expansion project was initiated by the John Kufuor’s NPP government when it, on November 5, 2008, signed a 12-million-dollar loan agreement with the Saudi Development Fund to execute the project. However, Kufuor’s reign ended only months after. Claiming as part of his government’s effort to provide each of the then-10 regions with a regional hospital, Mahama, thus, awarded the contract to Messrs Berock Ventures Limited on December 9, 2013 on the counsel of the Saudi Consultants. Actual work started on January 20, 2014, but the project was never completed and commissioned before he left office even though, according to engineers, the project was just about 95 percent complete as of November 21, 2016 when Mahama toured the facility. As of December 21, 2021, the present government was still grappling for funds to complete the project, after a failed 20-million-dollar concessional loan agreement with the Saudi government.
- The Volta Regional Hospital, now Ho Teaching Hospital
After 20 years, the Volta Regional Hospital attained the status of teaching hospital in 2019. The fifth public teaching hospital, the Ho Teaching Hospital, was then re-commissioned by the Minister of Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu on 29 April 2019. However, as a 240-bed Volta Regional Hospital, it was completed in November 1998, but it started service delivery in April 1999 and was officially first commissioned in December 2000 by the then-president J. J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, as the second project in a series of three regional hospitals built under the regime.
- Wa Regional Hospital
The Wa Regional Hospital is a referral facility in the Upper West Region. Touted as The Pride of Upper West Region, the new 160-bed Wa Regional Hospital is one of nine medical facilities constructed by an Egyptian capital investment company, Euroget De-Invest S.A. The project started under ex-president John Kufuor in 2008 who awarded the Euroget contract for eight other health facilities. It was continued under the erstwhile Mahama administration but was completed and commissioned by Nana Akufo Addo on August 18, 2019.
- Ashanti Regional Hospital
The Ashanti Regional Hospital is presently at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana’s second largest health referral facility. KATH was initially known as the Kumasi Central Hospital when it was built in 1954 to cater for the fast-increasing population of Kumasi. The name was later changed to Komfo Anokye Hospital, in honour and memory of the legendary fetish Okomfo Anokye whose spiritual prowess is well documented. The hospital attained its teaching hospital status for the clinical training of medical students, following the establishment of the School of Medical Sciences (now School of Medicine and Dentistry) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in 1975, under the I. K. Acheampong as military head of state.
However, to reduce pressure on KATH, a contract with Euroget De Invest S. A. was signed by the Kufuor administration in 2008 to construct a 250-bed Ashanti Regional Hospital in Sewua in the Bosomtwe District in the Ashanti region. It was part of the eight Euroget health projects signed and approved by Parliament in 2008. It was expected to have been completed by the end of 2017, but the project seems to have been abandoned as reported by The Fourth Estate. It was still about 90 percent complete as of October 5, 2021, according to resident engineer Farouk Amer of Messrs Euroget De-Invest, contractors for the project.
The Rawlings led NDC administration started and completed three Regional hospitals. Some of the hospitals had long been built even from colonial times but were renovated or expanded by subsequent governments. Therefore, it is not accurate that NDC built all of the ten regional hospitals in Ghana.