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Quaternary health facility: Phase Two of UGMC project completed

BY: Chris Nunoo
Quaternary health facility: Phase Two Ghana Medical Centre project completed

The second phase of the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) has been inaugurated.

Inaugurated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Friday, it is symbolic of the government’s determination to provide Ghanaians with a befitting quaternary health facility, providing world-class health services to all residents of the country and beyond.

It will also provide healthcare services such as neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery, psychiatry and rehabilitation, cancer management and assisted reproductive technology.

The project, which commenced in 2019, was made possible through a $217 million facility secured from the Bank of Hapoalim in Israel.

The grant of the facility testified to the strong and productive relations existing between Ghana and Israel.

First phase

The 617-bed UGMC, whose construction commenced in April 2013, was initiated by the late former President, Prof. J.E.A. Mills in 2011, and inaugurated by former President John Dramani Mahama on January 4, 2017.

The first phase, which comprised eight separate buildings and houses, different specialised areas such as emergency, Imaging, operating theatres, laboratories and a computer room, was undertaken at a cost of $271 million.

It came with maternity and paediatric clinics, an orthopaedic centre, an in-patient medical training facility, staff accommodation and a maintenance and logistics building.

Also captured in the first phase were centres for specialist care in areas, including urology, ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat, cardiology, dermatology, neurology and interventional radiology (cancers).

Additionally, it had a medical hotel where clients could live and consult specialists.

Value

Throwing more light on the second phase, President Akufo-Addo said: “The other value of the second phase includes the establishment of the implementation of the investment and business module to make the facility self-sustaining over a five-year period.”

In support of a specialist training role, he explained that the Medical Training and Simulation Centre had been operational since 2019, providing medical simulation training for staff of the UGMC as well as the College of Health Sciences.

“It is also worth noting that the medical and scientific research centre has been operating since 2020, conducting research in cardiovascular genetics, maternal foetal medicine, regenerative and transplant medicine, infectious disease, big data science and clinical trials,” the President added.

He said there was no doubt that the impact of the facility on healthcare delivery and the training of health professionals in the country would be enormous.

President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that the centre would be managed under a prudent business module to ensure that it remained the best for many years to come.

He gave an assurance that the government would guarantee good health care for all people living in the country and continue to sustain its agenda of building a robust, resilient and sustainable health care for current and future generations.

Greater Accra Regional Hospital

President Akufo-Addo said work had been completed on the upgrade of the Ridge Hospital into a fully-fledged regional hospital to serve the Greater Accra Region.

He indicated that the UGMC and the Greater Accra Regional Hospital would ease the pressure on Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

The President expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, and her predecessors, Professor Ernest Aryeetey and Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, for their support which he said included providing the land for the construction of the hospital and other support given by them.

He also commended all other stakeholders for their support.

The President further thanked all health workers for the concerted effort and resilience they showed in helping the government fi ght the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genesis

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the UGMC, Dr Darius Kofi Osei, said he was tasked on July 18, 2018, by President Akufo-Addo to see to the completion of the second phase of the UGMC project and the operationalisation of the three focal areas of the centre.

These were the Medical Simulation and Training Centre, the Clinical Services Section and the Medical and Scientific Research Centre.

At the time, he said, the basic infrastructure of eight major blocks of buildings were constructed while some equipment had also been supplied, but not fully set up.

Dr Osei said a number of areas required for full take-off in most of the speciality areas under phase one were also intertwined with the phase two.

“I must emphatically state here that the road towards attaining a quaternary status is a long and arduous one that cannot be accomplished without laying a solid foundation upon which highly specialised medical services would be grounded,” he said.

Ownership

Taking a look at ownership, he said:“My team and I put our shoulders to the wheel while negotiations were still ongoing between the government of Ghana and the University of Ghana on a mutually acceptable ownership structure.

“Ultimately, an ownership structure of 60 per cent for the government through the Ministry of Health and 40 per cent for the University of Ghana was agreed upon.“

Dr Osei said the facility would need a helipad located near the main security post to assist in the evaluation of trauma cases to boost efforts at medical tourism.

He also called for the setting up of a radiotherapy centre for cancer treatment, a 50-bed infectious disease centre, accommodation for specialists and other critical staff as well as official vehicles for the centre.