Open UGMC campaigner granted bail

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh & Emelia Ennin Abbey
Reginald Sekyi-Brown
Reginald Sekyi-Brown

A final-year Doctor of Pharmacy student of the University of Ghana, Legon was detained on Wednesday at the Korle Bu Police Station for allegedly stalking the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, with a placard protesting the failure of the government to open the University of Ghana Medical Centre.

The First Lady was delivering a speech at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a one-storey Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra.

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Arrest

The 25-year-old student, Mr Reginald Sekyi-Brown, was arrested after he had moved from the audience holding a placard with the inscription: “#OPEN UGMC NOW” and stood beside the First Lady.

He was taken to the Korle Bu Police Station, interrogated and released on bail.

He will be invited for questioning as and when need be.


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Reginald Sekyi-Brown at the Korle Bu Police station moments after he was granted bail.

Confirmation

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When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mrs Afia Tenge, confirmed that Mr Sekyi-Brown was picked up for alleged misconduct.

She said he was arrested by the escorts of the First Lady, who handed him over to the Korle Bu District Police Command.

At the Korle Bu Police Station, she said, the police conducted a search on Mr Sekyi-Brown and interrogated him.

“They found a Dell laptop, an iPad and an iPhone on him,” said Mrs Tenge.

UGMC campaign

Mr Sekyi-Brown began a campaign to raise 2,500 signatories to push for the opening of the UGMC.

The campaign is aimed at catching the eye of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to intervene in the opening of the UGMC, which was inaugurated in November 2016.

A total of 1,561 signatories had been gathered as of the time of going to press.

In a petition posted online and addressed to the President, Mr Sekyi-Brown, said “we cannot continue to worship this medical centre in the full glare of a health system saddled with only 55 functioning ambulances, increasing neonatal death, overcrowded hospitals and a rogue drug peddling cycle catalysed by the inadequacy of healthcare centres across the country”.

It said Ghana had an “unpardonable patient to doctor, pharmacist and allied health science professionals ratio, which is at total variance with the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and should the prevailing conditions persist, it would be almost impossible for Ghana to ever attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

“Mr President, the University of Ghana Medical Centre is a novel concept, which is in tandem with the Ghanaian dream of a Ghana Beyond Aid  and the attainment of universal health coverage.

“Sir, unlike other healthcare providing centres, the University of Ghana Medical Centre brings on board a critical medical care force, a medical training centre, in addition to solid research, which we critically need as a country and a strategic geographical accessibility site especially for our peculiar thick traffic situation in the capital city,” the petition noted.

It urged the President to expedite action, since the operation of the medical centre was in the national interest.

Below is a video of Reginald speaking to journalists after he was granted bail.