Several images and videos have gone viral on social media suggesting, among others, that the Sunyani Municipal Hospital’s Maternity Block, which was commissioned by President Akufo-Addo in August 2021, was yet to be fully ready for work.
In these images, it appears that works were ongoing to widen an entrance.
These photos were shared on Twitter by a user with the name, @CitizenTechiman.
The photos have been retweeted at least 30 times with over 82 other users liking the post. The post has also received several comments from other users.
A video has also been uploaded on YouTube by Ark FM on August 28, 2021.
In the video, a reporter, who appears to be taking a tour of the facility, captured scenes suggesting that works were still ongoing inside the building.
Between minute 1:48 to 3:00, the voice in the video claimed that the renovation was to allow for the setting up of a theatre ward.
“The project has indeed been completed but when they started operations, they realized that the facility was without a female ward or theatre, which is why they are creating this entrance,” the male voice claimed.
Claim 1: Twitter user, @CitizenTechiman claims Sunyani Municipal Hospital’s maternity block is still under construction even after commissioning by President Akufo-Addo
False. The maternity block had been completed by the time it was commissioned by the President on August 11th 2021; however, some modifications are being done to the facility.
According to a statement issued and signed by the Ag. Medical Superintendent of the facility, Dr. Helena Alabono, the President commissioned a completed and fully equipped Maternity Block, as captured by reporters who covered the event.
However, she said the management of the facility decided to carry out some modifications soon after the commissioning “to enhance infection prevention in the era of COVID-19.”
This includes partitioning the corridor leading to the Theatre and Recovery Ward with swing glass door; changing the doors to the Theatre and Recovery Ward to swing doors; and also creating a Triage Area at the Reception.
With regards to the pictures and videos being circulated, the statement noted that they were taken by “some media personnel and individuals after the commissioning without approaching the Hospital Management for permission or explanation for the ongoing modifications.”
They, therefore, asked the public to disregard the recent viral reports “because it is false and it is perpetuated by some individuals to achieve their selfish interest.”
The Administrator of the Hospital, Elvis Eshun, said in a telephone conversation that despite the ongoing work at the theater and recovery ward, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is in use.
Given that the medical equipment could be affected as modification work was being carried out, Eshun explained that they were moved to some other room within the same facility.
He assured, that the modifications will be completed a week from today.
Claim 2: The construction of the Sunyani Municipal Hospital’s maternity block was started by Lordina Mahama.
The project was commenced by the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and was financed by the District Assembly Common’s Fund.
Another Twitter user also shared a 45 second video from what appears to be the same venue from which the photos in the tweet indicated above.
One man in the video, speaking in a local Ghanaian language said:
“Ghanaians, we are at the maternity block started by our mother Lordina Mahama, which was commissioned recently by President Nana Addo. We are at the Sunyani Municipal Hospital. This is it,” the man said whilst laughing and showing viewers the ‘sorry’ state of the facility.
In August 2016, sod was cut for work to commence on the maternity block for the hospital.
The sod cutting was done by the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Kwasi Oppong-Ababio.
In March 2017, gbcghana.com published a story, saying that construction work had begun.
In the three-paragraphed story, the news portal sought to establish a link between the commencement of the project to a plea the Hospital had made to the former first lady during a visit.
However, in the 2017 Composite budget of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly, the ‘Completion of 1No. Maternity Block’ is listed as one of the projects to be undertaken as part of its sub-programme.
It was explained in page 32 of the budget document that “the sub program is funded by UDG, DDF, DACF, IGF, and GoG”
In the Assembly’s Composite budget for 2018, 2019 and 2021, it was indicated that “the Assembly is currently constructing a Maternity Ward at the Municipal Hospital which when completed, will go a long way to address maternal and infant mortality issues in the municipality”
On page 13 of the 2021 Composite budget, the Assembly lists the project among its key key achievements in 2020.
They indicated that the project was being funded by the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF)
The researchers requested from the former first lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, information to ascertain her level of involvement in the project but she redirected the request to Hon. Eric Opoku, a former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister.
In a phone conversation, Mr. Opoku said that:
“Honestly, the first lady was there to donate some medical equipment to the hospital and the Municipal Assembly had programmed to commence construction of that project. So the first lady was asked to participate in the sod cutting ceremony because she was there to do some presentation. It is a project that was purely executed by the Municipal Assembly under our watch.”
It is quite misleading to claim that the Sunyani Municipal Hospital’s maternity block is still under construction even after commissioning by President Akufo-Addo. The maternity block had been completed by the time it was commissioned by the President on August 11th 2021. However, some modifications are being done to the facility.
Also, the project is officially known to have been started by the Sunyani Municipal Assembly with funding from its District Assembly Common Fund.